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2 Injured in Collapse of Scaffolding

One construction worker is in critical condition after seven levels fall at San Diego's transit building. Trolley is disrupted.

November 18, 2003|Tony Perry | Times Staff Writer

SAN DIEGO — Two construction workers were injured Monday when seven floors of scaffolding outside a public building collapsed.

The 11:21 a.m. incident disrupted the San Diego trolley system and caused the evacuation of nearby buildings in the East Village section of downtown. The accident occurred two blocks east of where the city is building a new ballpark for the San Diego Padres.

The scaffolding buckled while the two men were working on a resurfacing project outside the 10-story Metropolitan Transit System building.

One worker plunged seven stories to the ground; he was taken to a hospital where he was listed in critical condition. The other was trapped on the scaffolding at the fourth-floor level but used his cellular phone to call the Fire Department. Firefighters located him within minutes and brought him safely inside the building. He was treated and released.

With debris covering the tracks, trolleys could not use the switching tracks outside the transit building. About half the trolley system's 90,000 daily customers were affected as power was cut and trolleys rerouted, officials said.

The accident may have occurred when the scaffolding was shaken by a large fiberglass panel being installed as part of the project, investigators said.

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