A man painting a mural on the side of a Hollywood Beach high-rise under construction was killed Monday and another painter was critically injured in the second South Florida scaffolding collapse in just under a week.
The men, who according to police were hired by artist Douglas Hoekzema to paint the mural, were working on the 41-story Hyde Resort and Residences at 4111 S. Ocean Dr. around 1:30 p.m. when the scaffolding fell from 40 feet.
Hallandale Beach Fire Rescue crews inside Station 60, which is right next to Hyde Resort — separated only by a narrow public pathway to the beach — were the first on the scene.
“They heard a loud crash and ran out on the balcony and saw that the scaffolding was on the ground,” said Hallandale Fire Chief Mark Ellis, who added that rescuers saw two men dangling and one on the ground. “They were outside in probably less than a minute.”
Meanwhile, crews from Hollywood and Broward Sheriff Fire Rescue were called to the scene.
The three painters were working on the south side of the building when the scaffolding broke for an unknown reason — sending them and yellow paint falling. Luckily, Ellis said, no construction workers were on the pathway when the giant wooden scaffolding collapsed.
Ellis said all three painters were wearing harnesses, so it was unclear how one of the men fell 40 feet to the ground. The other two were left hanging on the the side of the building.
The man on the ground was immediately transported to Ryder Trauma Center at Jackson Memorial Hospital, where he later died. Meanwhile, Hollywood Fire Rescue’s Technical Rescue Team removed one of the painters from the side of the building and he was taken to the hospital in critical condition. The third painter was rescued by Hallandale Beach’s ladder truck, Ellis said. He was treated on the scene.
Local TV helicopters captured the dramatic rescue on camera. A harnessed man can be seen hanging on by only a rope as firefighters moved a ladder closer. He then walked down to his safety.
Lori Williams, the Hallandale Beach Fire Rescue’s spokeswoman, said the rescue took about two hours and was complicated by the high elevation and the fire station’s close proximity to the incident site.
“It made for a very narrow rescue area,” she said.
While rescuers worked, traffic was diverted from busy A1A. Police tape surrounded the Hyde Resort, which was under construction and will be a 407-unit condo complex when finished. The general contractor for the project, John Moriarty & Associates of Florida, could not be reached for comment Monday night.
Representatives from Hyde Resort and Residences declined to comment about the incident.
Late into the afternoon, investigators were still working on the site, where there was a big pile of debris from the scaffolding. Hollywood police, fire rescue inspectors and the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration were investigating the accident. Police had not released the names of the man who was killed or the two who were injured by Monday evening.
Valet workers who were nearby when the accident happened were not allowed to speak with reporters. One woman, who was in a nearby condo building, said she saw the painters dangling.
Construction worker Frank Chicha, who works for Safety Guys, said he was inside the building working when the accident occurred.
“It’s a shame this happened,” he said as he left the construction site for the day. “But these things happen. Accidents happen.”
In fact, Monday’s accident comes just days after scaffolding collapsed last week in the Brickell-area of Miami.
In that accident, which happened Wednesday, one person died and five suffered injuries when scaffolding fell from the Echo Brickell condominium construction site, just south of downtown Miami.