A section of scaffolding collapsed at a high-rise construction project in downtown Raleigh, killing three people and sending another to a hospital, officials said today. Jeffrey Hammerstein, the district chief at Wake County EMS, said three people were confirmed dead in the accident; movable scaffolding peeled away from the 11-story glass and steel building and into a parking lot below. Authorities were working to identify those who died. All four victims were involved in the construction project, Hammerstein said. State Department of Labor spokesman Neal O'Briant said today that his agency is investigating the cause. Officials had closed off a wide area around the scene.
The News & Observer, which has more details, reports that a frame supporting the scaffolding system was being dismantled when it failed at the fifth floor. After the accident, a group of men in hard hats and yellow vests, some of which said Associated Scaffolding on them, were talking to an official near the edge of the police line. A woman who answered the phone at the company's Durham headquarters declined to give her name and said the company had no comment. According to the state Department of Labor, the construction industry accounts for the bulk of workplace fatalities in the state, with 19 deaths reported in 2014. (Read more scaffolding stories.)