As strong winds whipped through the city on Saturday night, a three-story scaffold on 25th Street near Potrero collapsed  at 7:30 p.m. damaging two cars and obstructing traffic.

“It sounded like something you would hear during an earthquake,” said Rogelio Alvarado, whose car was trapped beneath the fallen wreckage. “Somebody could have been driving by, and bam—it could have killed someone.”

Police light emergency flares on 25th Street.

Shortly after the accident, police lit flares to close 25th Street.  The twisted metal bars and large planks of wood glowed in the red light of the emergency torches.

“So far there haven’t been any injuries,” said officer Micah Hope of the San Francisco Police Department. “As I understand, the scaffold had been here for about a month because there are some high tension wires that need to be moved by PG&E, but it’s ultimately the responsibility of the contractor to properly secure the scaffold.”

Hope said several trees blew over in the area and another scaffold collapsed  in Bay View.

“The wind was not a normal wind,”Alvarado said. “I could feel the building trembling.”

Alvarado speaks with his insurance company outside his apartment.

Alvarado said he would wait for an appraisal from his insurance company to know how serious the damage was to his 1996 Nissan Sentra.

“I honestly don’t know if that car is going to be safe after this,” he said. “You can see how much weight is on it. The shocks could easily be broken.”

The falling scaffold shattered a window of the apartment complex it was built around, located at 1390 Utah St. No other damage to the building was reported. The contractor and owner of the building, Ardie Clark, could not be reached for comment.

The scaffold was put up to do painting and seemed sturdy before it collapsed, said Bob Webb, a resident of the building.

Workers remove debris from the scene.

“There was mesh around it all the way up,” said Webb. “My guess is that the wind was so strong, it was moving faster than it could get through the holes in the mesh, and it turned it into a sail.”

About three hours after the collapse, a crew of workers arrived to remove the debris.

“It looks like the contractor might have done some things to the scaffold and that’s why it came down,” said Dave Zunal, a worker for Scaffold Solutions. “We’re just trying to get it up off the street as soon as possible so we can get the road back open for people. We’re hoping to get it all done tonight.”

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Bryan Gibel

Born in Albuquerque, New Mexico, Bryan has a background in investigative reporting for newspapers and the radio. He is working the health beat for Mission Loc@l.

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  1. While the response from Scaffold Solutions to remove the wreckage was swift, I am still waiting for someone to assume responsibility for the damages done to my car (which is not a 94, but a 96 sentra). What puzzles me is the fact that the parties involved would risk their reputation as responsible businesses for neglecting to pay, or rather direct their insurance company to pay the few thousand dollars that my bucket is worth. On the other hand, the response of the neighbors has been encouraging. I have found notes with names and phone numbers of people who saw the scene, and even took pictures, offering to assist. To all of you, and to Mission Local:

    Mil gracias


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