Sat, Jan 24, 2015 - Page 3 News List

12-story scaffold collapses, blocks traffic

NEAR-DISASTER:No one was hurt when the scaffold collapsed, but authorities have slapped the maximum fine on the contractor and suspended its operations

By Chen Wei-han  /  Staff writer, with CNA

Workers clear an area at the intersection of Roosevelt Road and Ningbo E Street in Taipei yesterday following the collapse of a 12-story scaffolding structure.

Photo: Liao Chen-hui, Taipei Times

A 12-story scaffold collapsed in downtown Taipei yesterday, reportedly due to construction negligence, damaging vehicles parked along its fall trajectory and obstructing traffic for hours, though not causing any injuries.

The scaffold was assembled next to a building at the intersection of Roosevelt Road and Ningbo E Street.

Construction Management Office Building Inspection Division head Wei Kuo-chung (魏國忠) said the contractor did not follow safety procedures, failing to properly secure the structure, which led it to collapse when it was hit by a strong gust of wind.

The contractor was renovating the building’s exterior, as ceramic tiles had been falling off, after the Construction Management Office had ordered the building’s management to carry out repairs, Wei said.

The collapsed scaffold sprawled across six lanes of Roosevelt Road, damaging 15 vehicles and obstructing traffic for two hours until a rescue team removed the structure, Taipei City Government spokesman Sidney Lin (林鶴明) said.

A bus parked under the falling scaffold narrowly escaped disaster thanks to its observant driver, who immediately accelerated away from the site as soon as he saw the structure falling.

“The bus driver’s quick response saved the passengers onboard,” a bystander said.

A rescue team rushed to the scene and ensured that nobody was trapped under the fallen scaffold before removing the structure, Lin said.

The contractor received a NT$90,000 fine — the maximum possible — for construction safety negligence and was ordered to suspend all operations, Wei said.

The contractor refused to comment on the incident.

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