MANASSAS, Va. - One person has died and six other people are injured after a large shelving rack collapsed on them at a food distribution warehouse in Manassas, authorities say.
The accident happened at around 3:40 p.m. Tuesday at the Reinhart Foodservice warehouse in the 11700 block of Balls Ford Road.
According to police, an interior rack system used to store food products collapsed on several employees. A male worker was pronounced dead at the scene.
"A couple of employees were crushed right in front of me,” said Marcus Yates. “I saw it with my own eyes."
Employees said an aisle of steel pallet racks holding thousands of boxes of frozen food products came crashing down.
"The support system for the beams started crushing, it started buckling and a domino effect all the way down the aisle,” said Yates. “Everything came down."
"They are 30-foot tall,” said Prince William County Fire Battalion Chief Thomas Jarman. “Think of your local warehouse store that you go into and put it on steroids.”
Fire crews went inside the freezer warehouse searching for a missing employee. He did not survive the collapse.
"It was very chaotic,” said another witness. “Everybody was just jumping over palettes trying to find people. Everybody is digging and pulling boxes out of the way."
The surviving victims were transported to various hospitals for treatment. Two of the workers were in critical condition and had to be airlifted to the hospital.
The cause for the rack collapse is being investigated.