Criminally, Cowboys Dome Was Never Inspected

One DALLAS MORNING NEWS columnist is calling for questions, and not blame in the case of the Cowboys’ practice dome collapse. And that’s fine for a major newspaper. But this here’s a blog, so I’m going to go ahead and assign a large chunk of the blame to the Cowboys, for not having the roof inspected. Which is very illegal, in case you were wondering.

Cowboys Practice Dome

The Cowboys applied for a permit last year to replace the roof on the 6-year-old facility, but never told the city of Irving, Texas, when the work was completed. A full city inspection should have taken place, but apparently never did. And now Rich Behm is permanently paralyzed. You can bet a number of lawsuits are on the way.

It’s not clear why the Cowboys sought to replace the roof, at a cost of $600,000. And it’s also not clear whether that work was completed. What is clear is that the team failed in its obligations, said Gary Miller, Irving’s planning and inspections director.

Miller said the city’s building code requires contractors to inform the city when permitted work is done so city officials can inspect the projects.“We rely on them to be responsible,” Miller said.

Translation: besides the obvious civil suits, don’t rule out criminal charges. Especially since the Cowboys chose to register as the contractor for the new construction.It’s worth noting that Summit Structures, which built the dome, is surrounded by questions over a previous collapse.

In 2007, a Pennsylvania judge, relying on an expert’s assessment, found that a structure Summit built for the Philadelphia Regional Port Authority on the Delaware River collapsed because of “failure of the design” to account for snow buildup on the roof, court documents show.

An OSHA investigation is expected to take up to six months, and will hopefully determine whether the roof was designed to withstand the 70 mph winds that brought it down. But it’s already too late for the injured.