At least eight injured in scaffolding collapse at high school

Published: Aug. 12, 2013 at 3:38 PM EDT|Updated: Sep. 11, 2013 at 3:38 PM EDT
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The collapsed scaffolding at McDowell High School. (Source: FOX Carolina)
The collapsed scaffolding at McDowell High School. (Source: FOX Carolina)

MARION, NC (WBTV) - At least eight people were injured when scaffolding collapsed at a North Carolina high school where an addition to the school was under construction.

According to McDowell County 911 officials, the collapse happened at McDowell High School in Marion just after 10:19 a.m. on Monday morning.

Officials said the scaffolding collapsed at an addition under construction at the high school.

According to McDowell County's Emergency Medical Service Director William Kehler, eight workers fell 35-40 feet in the collapse.

Marion Fire Chief Jim Neal told WBTV that his crew rescued two workers who were trapped after the collapse.

One man had to be rescued from the top of a cinder block wall.

Chief Neal said the second man was on a "rather precarious perch," trapped on a section of scaffolding that didn't initially collapse. Kehler says that man was trapped for nearly an hour.

As firefighters were pulling the man to safety, Neal says the wooden slates between the metal sections fell to the ground.

"I'm very proud of my men," Chief Neal told WBTV. "They were able to save that man just in time."

Chief Neal says neither of the men that Marion firefighters saved had apparent injuries.

He says at least two others had to be airlifted, one to Mission Hospital, the second to Spartanburg Regional.

Four others were taken to Mission Hospital and two to McDowell Hospital.

Kehler says there were 70 rescuers on scene Monday morning.

Earlier this year, McDowell County Council approved an $8.5 million loan for the building of a 60,000 square foot addition at McDowell High School.

School is scheduled to start in McDowell County on Aug. 26.

The North Carolina Labor Department's Occupational Safety and Health Division is investigating.

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