Church stairwell collapses and the building is declared safe. Am I missing something here?

Times, South Africa/December 15, 2009

A collapsed staircase at a church in central Johannesburg has left 71 worshippers injured, Gauteng paramedics said.

The stair case collapsed shortly after noon and fell upon congregants of the Universal Church of the Kingdom of God on Eloff and Plein streets, said ER24 spokesman Lloyd Krause.

"The cause of the collapse is still unknown, but is being investigated by the fire service as well as the police services," said Krause.

The worshippers suffered injuries ranging from minor bruises up to fractures. They have been taken to Johannesburg Hospital, Helen Josephs Hospital and Hillbrow Clinic.

"We really have no idea what was the cause. It is a new building that is why we are so surprised," church spokeswoman Nametso Mofokeng told the media.

"People were sitting under the stairwell in the main cathedral. The stairs moved forward and down a little bit, and then they collapsed straight down."

The church employs a permanent building technician to check the safety of the building.

"It was declared safe for occupational use; that’s why we don’t understand what happened. Those stairs were very new. It is possible that the stairs were not looked at. We don’t know whose fault it is, so we are not sure about the liability," said Mofokeng.

Today the church issues this statement:

The Universal Church of the Kingdom of God, and @126 - architects and principal agents of the cathedral project herewith issue the following statement.

We can confirm that during the church service yesterday, a small access staircase, suspended in the one side of the main Nave area collapsed. It should be noted that this staircase does not form an integral part of the building structure. Accordingly, we further confirm that the collapse of the staircase will not impact on the integrity of the overall building structure, which remains sound. The exact cause of the failure of the steel staircase is now subject to a full investigation.

We are further able to confirm that prior to the Universal Church having taken occupation of the building, the relevant authorities had issued a certificate of occupation allowing the Church to occupy and use the building for its intended purpose.

In the interim, the Universal Church of the Kingdom of God has made arrangements to remove the staircase, and make the area safe for use again. The building has since been certified as safe, and as such the church will commence with services as usual from tomorrow.

To see more documents/articles regarding this group/organization/subject click here.