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Yankee stadium roof fall sparks safety scare

NEW YORK City engineers are carrying out a detailed safety inspection of the Yankees baseball stadium after a 230kg steel and concrete movement joint fell 9m from the roof on to seating below.

No-one was hurt in the incident last Monday, just hours before the opening game of the season was due to start. The stadium was closed immediately and the game rescheduled.

A replacement joint was fabricated and fitted within 48 hours but so far no reason for the crash has been found. An identical joint on the opposite side of the stadium contained no defects and the stadium was expected to reopen this Friday.

Inspectors are using hydraulic scaffold towers to check for spalling on the building facade and damaged areas are repaired immediately. Inside the stadium, timber planks were placed on the upper deck to allow the engineers to examine beams.

The incident has highlighted the failings of the ageing structure and reopened debate surrounding the future of the stadium - known as The Home of Baseball - which celebrates its 75th anniversary on Saturday. New York mayor Rudolph Giuliani and Yankees owner George Steinbrenner caused uproar recently by suggesting that the traditional Bronx home be left in favour of a new stadium in Manhattan.

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