AUSTIN (KXAN) - Why did glass fall out of the 37-story W Hotel this week? Right now there are more questions than answers.
Was the Chinese-made glass defective? Was there a problem with the installation or the hardware involved? Was heat a factor?
The city permits three types of high-rise safety glass for downtown buildings. Fully tempered, laminated fully-tempered and laminated heat-strengthened. The city does not recommend which to use.
"Gosh, no, that's got to be the engineer or architect to make that call. We look at what they've done to be sure it complies with our buildiing code," said Leon Barba, assistant director of Austin Planning and Zoning.
Tempered glass, which W uses, is four times stronger than regular glass, and if it breaks it shatters into many tiny little bits.
I'ts something that might cut a finger or foot, but it doesn't have the ability to cut through a vein or damage a body part," said Mike Shanahan of Glass Doctor .
Laminated glass involves two panes that have a thin, plastic laminate in between, making the glass much more likely to remain intact.
The Planning and Zoning staff signed off on the W, but Barba explained, "Anything we can look at or measure we do. But we can't look at cement strength or whether the glass was properly manufactured. We can't see that and we don't have the staff or expertise anyway."
The city is not investigating the falling glass; that is being done by Stratus Developers, their experts and engineers.
Late Saturday night into early Sunday morning, a light band of freezing drizzle traversed the I-35 corridor eastward. With sub-freezing temperatures, even the light precipitation created major problems.
A 10-year-old was killed while standing outside a vehicle after the child's family was involved in a fender bender, DPS said.
APD is responding to a 25 vehicle accident near the 5400 block of Ed Bluestein near Thurgood Ave.
A man is dead after being hit by several vehicles in the eastbound lane of Highway 71 Saturday night.
A representative at the Fayette County Sheriff's office said that Fayette County is effectively shut down due to icy conditions.
Freezing drizzle causing dangerous conditions on roadways overnight.