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Recovery of workers killed in Hard Rock collapse to begin next week, City says

The remains of Jose Ponce Arreola and Quinnyon Wimberly have been trapped inside the rubble since the Hard Rock collapsed last Fall.

NEW ORLEANS — Two historic Canal Street buildings are gone and giant red cranes are at Canal and North Rampart streets now.

Soon, crews will begin to use those cranes to tear down the Hard Rock hotel.

“The key news there is we are on track,” City Hall spokesman Beau Tidwell said Tuesday.

Those two red cranes will be used to first take apart the yellow tower crane that has hung over Canal street since dynamite took it down last October.

It’s the first of a four-phase demolition process.

Next up, removal of the remains of Jose Ponce Arreola and Quinnyon Wimberly, the workers whose remains have been trapped inside the rubble since the hard rock collapsed.

The city expects that process to begin Monday.

“(NOFD) Chief (Tim) McConnell has informed me it takes about four to five days usually,” Tidwell said. “That would be the anticipation.”

After that, those red cranes will be used to pick apart the top eight floors of the building.

The demolition is expected to cost $8.4 million. 1031 Canal Development, the Hard Rock’s owner, is paying for the demolition work. The ultimate goal is to have the site entirely clear by October, a year after the deadly collapse.

Some, like Canal Street business owner Hassam Salem, say they aren’t hopeful.

“For about a year I've been hearing too many different delays about when they're going to take it down, if they're going to implode it or not,” Salem said. “I definitely need to see it to believe it. I definitely have to see it to believe it.”

RELATED: Demolition underway on buildings around Hard Rock collapse site

RELATED: 4 phases to Hard Rock demolition won't be complete until end of September

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