NEW ORLEANS – On Monday afternoon, the City of New Orleans announced the removal by a recovery team of the remains of Jose Ponce Arreola, who was killed in the collapse of the Hard Rock project last October.
“We are grateful to finally have some measure of closure for both families, who had to experience an intolerable delay. Late today, Chief Tim McConnell and I witnessed a private service honoring Jose’s remains in the presence of his family. It is a terrible relief to begin finally bringing this process to an end,” said Mayor LaToya Cantrell.
“The safe and respectful removal of our people has been a top priority throughout, and I am grateful to God that this day has finally come. Moving forward, we will continue to hold ownership accountable, at every level. No one wanted it to be this way, but we are grateful to the recovery team for finally getting us to this point.”
“Recovery of the remains of Mr. Arreola was completed shortly before 4 p.m. today by the New Orleans Fire Department and Louisiana Task Force 1, led by Capt. Danny Simon of the New Orleans Fire Department,” said NOFD Superintendent Tim McConnell.
“I want to commend the vigilance and dedication of our team to complete this work with safety, respect and diligence as their guiding principles, and to assure the public we will continue to provide the necessary support moving forward.”
The following is a statement from 1031 Canal Development, LLC:
“It is with great relief that 1031 Canal Development, LLC (the Hotel project owner/developer) can now report the recovery of the remains of both victims who were trapped inside of the collapsed building. On August 8, the urban search and rescue teams recovered the remains of Quinnyon Wimberly. Today, the same team completed the mission by recovering the remains of Jose Ponce Arreola. 1031 Canal expresses its deepest sympathies to the families and loved ones of these two good men, who have suffered for a long time waiting for the recoveries. 1031 Canal thanks Mayor Cantrell; Fire Chief McConnell; the NOFD; the demolition contractor, Kolb Grading; and everyone associated with providing guidance, support and oversight in this recovery effort, which hopefully now provides some comfort and closure to the victims’ families. 1031 Canal is also pleased to report that no one was injured, nor was any property damaged, during these complex and delicate operations. At this point in the process, the contractor will shift to the demolition of the upper floors, which will be followed by demolition of the lower level parking garage, and finally removal of all debris from the corner of Canal and Rampart.”