Alexandria officials have blamed a Falls Church contractor for an accident in which a 2,700-pound sign fell from a building, killing a man who was waiting for a bus.

Henry Fleming, 84, of Alexandria was killed May 17 when the sign fell on him in front of the Dominion Bank on Mount Vernon Avenue. A report released Wednesday said the contractor, W. Bradley Tyree Inc., improperly fastened the 8-by-24-foot slab of concrete and plaster. "I believe that this incident could have been prevented had the contractor obtained proper professional assistance," code enforcement administrator William H. Pennell Jr. wrote in the report.

The report also said that because city inspection "I believe that this accident could have been prevented . . . "

-- William H. Pennell Jr.

records are not retained beyond three years, it is not known whether the city inspected the site after the sign was erected in 1979.

Commonwealth's Attorney John E. Kloch said there is not enough evidence to warrant a criminal prosecution of the contractor, whose representatives could not be reached for comment last night.

"Since the panel facade remained in place for eight years, it obviously demonstrated some level of structural performance," the report said. "However, our findings clearly show that the selection of the framing materials and fasteners was ill-advised . . . . "