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Two die when landmark dog track collapses on workers during demolition

May 16, 1997 GMT

MIAMI SHORES, Fla. (AP) _ The landmark Biscayne Kennel Club and its famous greyhound sign collapsed on demolition workers taking apart the 1920s-era dog track Friday, killing two and injuring three.

The workers were cutting away I-beam supports of the grandstands when the aluminum and steel structure gave way with an earth-shaking clatter.

``It was like a machine gun _ bop-bop-bop-bop-bop,″ said a neighbor, Consuela Antonas.

The blue-and-white structure, just off Interstate 95 north of Miami, was being demolished in preparation for the sale of the property to adjacent Barry University. The sign broke into pieces of corrugated steel.

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The three injured workers were listed in stable condition. The identities of the dead were not immediately released.

The cause of the accident was under investigation.

The work was being done by Cuyahoga Wrecking Corp. of Opa-locka, which refused to discuss the accident.

Ross Prieto, assistant director of building and zoning for Miami Shores, said inspectors had made several visits and found ``everything was going according to plan.″

``From what I hear, this is just a construction accident,″ Prieto said. ``Accidents can happen.″

The track, which opened before 10,000 fans in 1926, was a throwback to the 1920s with its ornate blue tile entrance but was long past its glory days when it was closed in 1995. Attendance was down to 1,000. It could no longer compete against more modern tracks, the lottery or rising expenses.

Of the nation’s dog tracks, only Derby Lane, which opened in 1925 in St. Petersburg, is older.