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Bloomington La Quinta was warned about building problem days before facade fell off

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The La Quinta hotel chain acknowledged Wednesday that it had been told about problems with some loose facade on the exterior of its Bloomington hotel just a few days before several slabs of it fell off and caused extensive damage to the lobby area of the building, according to KSTP.

The Texas-based hotel chain released a statement to media outlets through a Twin Cities attorney, which said the hotel recently became aware of cracking on the outside of the building and ordered an inspection, the Star Tribune reports.

The inspector said the facade needed to be repaired, and the company had authorized the work to be done.

"Unfortunately, portions of the façade fell early Monday morning before the repairs could be made," the statement said.

Four concrete-like siding boards fell from floors 14 through 17 and crashed down onto the lobby area around 2 a.m. Monday, crushing a sprinkler system, which caused heavy flooding on the first floor of the building.

No one was injured, but guests were evacuated and taken to nearby hotels.

KARE 11 first reported Tuesday evening that La Quinta officials had been warned about the possibility of the panels falling down, and were told it was an "urgent issue" that needed to be addressed as soon as possible.

The station obtained an email sent by the contractor who did the inspection to company officials, warning that some sections of the facade were "hanging by a thread."

The email continued: "I personally am shocked that those two panels are still on the wall and wouldn't be surprised after the next wind storm that we hear about it on the news," according to KARE 11.

That turned out to be an accurate prediction, since just three days later those panels, and two others, fell down.

The hotel, at 5151 American Blvd. near Interstate 494 and Highway 100, is closed while repairs are being made.

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