OAKLAND (CBS SF) — A dozen workers were injured Friday morning when a building under construction in Oakland partially collapsed.
The incident happened around 9:30 a.m. on 3000 block of Broadway at Hawthorne Avenue. Helicopter video showed dozens of rescue workers and at least five ambulances at the scene of the collapse near downtown Oakland.
The collapse unfolded in front of construction worker Luis Garibay as he watched from the ground.
“It was too much weight. There was a ramp and it was just too much weight and everything broke,” explained Garibay.
He said a second floor scaffold suddenly collapsed as workers poured concrete for Largo Concrete Incorporated. The collapse left some workers hanging from the now bent scaffolding rods and others falling about two stories.
Oakland Fire Battalion Chief Ian McWhorter said at a noon update that 15 to 20 fell through the a second floor of the construction project and were trapped in wet concrete. Of those, 12 people were taken to local hospitals for treatment of mostly minor injuries.
“The first unit on the scene reported multiple people trapped in wet concrete and debris,” McWhorter said.
He said the workers were trapped up to their knees. Other workers rushed to the area to help free them from the wet concrete with shovels.
“I’m sure we all have been stuck in the mud at the beach,” McWhorter said describing how trapped the workers were. “That how it is. Kind of like quick sand. They were only trapped up to their knees, so it wasn’t more than 2-3 feet.”
“Some of those coworkers are my family members, so my first instinct was I had to go see how they were,” said Garibay.
Some of the injured were taken to Alta Bates Summit Medical Center, which is located across the street from the construction site.
The injuries suffered were mostly scrapes, bruises and back strain, McWhorter said. No one was working on the first floor at the time of the collapse.
Garibay said someone is supposed to always watch the work site in case something goes wrong, but he claims no one got a warning on Friday.
A closer look at Cal-OSHA records shows the agency opened four accident inspections into Largo Concrete in recent years.
One of them resulted in a serious citation in 2015 for failing to protect workers from rebar.
Cal-OSHA has been notified as has the Oakland city building inspectors. Both will be involved in the investigation to determine the cause of the collapse.