Weather Alert

Downtown scaffolding collapse damages church building, crushes cars

SAN ANTONIO (KTSA News) – Crews are trying to remove a huge mass of scaffolding that was ripped off the side of a downtown high rise and thrown against a church building across the street by strong, gusty winds last night.

The scaffolding that was on the AT&T building now looks like a ball of intertwined roller coasters about four stories high.  It  damaged a VIA bus, crushed several cars, overturned a couple of bus benches and damaged St. Mark’s Episcopal Church parish house.

Scaffolding Collapse on East Martin between Jefferson Street and Navarro/KTSA Photo-Elizabeth Ruiz

Three people were hurt while running away from the scene of the collapse last night on East Martin Street between Jefferson and Navarro Streets. They suffered minor injuries and did not require hospitalization.

A man who works at a downtown business told KTSA News the winds picked up and then he heard a loud crash.

“I was working just a couple of blocks away and when I heard it,  we came out and saw what was going on,” he said. “It was pretty indescribable and I’m thinking my car was underneath it.”

His parked car was surrounded by debris, but there was no serious damage and he was able to drive it out of the area when he got off work this morning.

A young woman named Sophia didn’t find out what happened until this morning when she arrived and saw her car stuck under the scaffolding. She was heard yelling “that’s my Buick,” but she was not allowed to go past the yellow caution tape.

“I don’t know. I guess this building fell on my car, and I’m honestly going to go before I start yelling at these people,” she told KTSA News. She walked off with her male companion as crews started to remove some of the debris.

The scaffolding tore through the roof of St. Mark’s Episcopal parish house and caused water damage throughout the building. No one was there when it happened shortly after 9 last night.

“The chiller has been crushed so we will not have AC for the foreseeable future,” the Rev. Beth Knowlton said in a written statement to parishioners.

Knowlton says the building will remain closed until the city allows them to reopen it. They’re continuing to assess the damage as they try to determine the schedule for the rest of the weekend.

“While this is upsetting, I give thanks to God that no one was hurt. The people of St. Mark’s will rally to do what needs to be done,” she said.

Scaffolding Collapse/East Martin between Jefferson and Navarro Streets/KTSA Photo-Elizabeth Ruiz

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