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Two rescued after scaffolding off Long Beach building breaks

A scaffolding at a Long Beach building broke

A scaffolding at a Long Beach building broke in two on Thursday July 13, 2017, leaving two workers hanging in midair before they were rescued, city officials said. Photo Credit: Long Beach City/Scott Kemins

Two workers hung in midair Thursday for a few minutes when the scaffolding they were on broke in the middle, Long Beach officials said.

Their safety harnesses saved them from tumbling seven floors down the co-op apartment building on East Broadway, said Scott Kemins, Long Beach commissioner for the fire and building departments. Co-workers on the facade renovation project were already on the roof and pulled them up by their harnesses, he said.

The two men were rescued without any injury, the commissioner said.

“It is a requirement that they wear the safety harnesses,” the commissioner said, “so it was just very lucky they were following the law.”

Investigators from the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration went to the scene, and they, along with Long Beach police, are looking into the incident.

The scaffolding, made of aluminum, was on the top floor when a “good amount of bricks” hit it just after 2 p.m., Kemins said.

“There appears to be a failure of the parapet wall that the scaffolding was attached to,” he said. “The bricks came down and hit the scaffolding and it appears broke the scaffolding in half from the weight of the bricks.”

Kemins said he was nearby and saw the second worker pulled up and the parts of the scaffolding hanging about 25 feet apart on one side of the building.

“I was just glad that everybody was up, and nobody was laying on the ground,” the commissioner said.

No one on the ground was hurt and the building’s structure was deemed safe, authorities said. The bricks fell on a sidewalk shed erected for the renovations, Kemins said.

Kemins said the city checked the company’s permits and found they were all in order.

Firefighters used a bucket ladder to lower the scaffolding to the ground, where OSHA investigators examined it. OSHA will look at the construction of the scaffolding, the commissioner said.

Ambulance crews evaluated the two workers at the scene. Authorities said they did not need to be taken to the hospital.

Said Kemins, “I think they had a very lucky day.”

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