On June 9, 1893, at 9:30 a.m., a supporting pier in the basement of the Theatre building crumbled, bringing down portions of all three floors. The collapse killed 22 government employees and injured another 65. An inquest into the event indicated that Colonel Fred Ainsworth, who began the excavation project, as well as the contractor in charge and others were guilty of criminal negligence. But, the district attorney eventually dropped the charges. Congress reimbursed the families of the deceased and wounded for up to $5,000.