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Scaffolding Collapse Causes Traffic Chaos on West 14th Street

By DNAinfo Staff on December 16, 2011 8:12am  | Updated on December 16, 2011 10:13am

By Serena Solomon and Tuan Nguyen

DNAinfo Staff

GREENWICH VILLAGE — The city is investigating a scaffolding collapse on West 14th Street Friday morning that closed part of the busy thoroughfare during the morning rush, authorities said.

Emergency units responded to the scene, at 222 W. 14th St. between Seventh and Eighth avenues, after receiving a call about the collapse at 7:48 a.m., the FDNY said.

There were no injuries in the incident, officials added. A Department of Buildings spokesman said the agency is currently investigating the cause of the collapse. 

West 14th Street between Seventh and Eighth avenues was closed to traffic in both directions after the incident, while westbound traffic between Seventh and Fifth avenues was limited. Authorities also closed down the street to pedestrians between Seventh and Eighth avenues. The street was reopened to westbound traffic about 10 a.m.

Some residents of the building where the collapse occurred were forced to evacuate after the early-morning incident. 

One witness, who was working at a pizzeria across the street at the time, saw the falling debris strike a car parked beneath the scaffolding.

“It sounded like a freight train crashing into the building," said the witness, Amir, 49, who works at Fat Sal's Pizza and declined to provide his last name. "It was loud as hell.”

The car's owner, who was not in the vehicle at the time, chalked the incident up to bad luck.

"What can you do?" said the owner, Hochan Lee.

A fire official at the scene said only those living in apartments affected by the collapse had to be evacuated from the building.

“I just thought it was part of the construction," noted tenant Matthew Sullivan, 30, who heard the crash from his ninth-floor apartment, adding that the scaffolding has been up since October. "A little later the doorman called to say to evacuate.”

It was not immediately clear what caused the collapse.