Construction resumes after scare at San Francisco high-rise

SAN FRANCISCO (KTVU) -- Construction resumed on a high-rise building in the city's South of Market neighborhood Thursday, one day after a scare involving a construction crane prompted the evacuation of the area and snarled the afternoon commute.

Restricted access to Tehema Avenue, between 1st and 2nd streets, remained in place Thursday and the building across the street at 44 Tehema Ave., remained off limits over fears that any falling debris from the structure could hurt bystanders or damage property.

The city's Department of Building Inspection and OSHA workers are looking into the incident.

But construction crews resumed working on the building at 33 Tehama Ave., several hours after a supporting strut on a hydraulic jack failed, causing the structure to tilt. Rescue workers ordered emergency evacuations for the 19 surrounding buildings.

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"I didn't know what to expect," said Stephanie Sage. "I didn't know where to go afterwards."

No injuries were reported during the incident but employees who were ordered out of the building said Thursday that they did not know where to go once they received the order.

"We all left the building," said Bruce Blauberg, who works in a nearby advertising agency. "Everything right here was blocked off."

"Luckily there were a lot of people standing across the street," said James Eaton, who was ordered out of the area. "We just made the decision and that's where we needed to be."

The San Francisco Office of Emergency Management said the construction site is stable and the hydraulic pump system is being dismantled. But the street and building across the avenue are closed.

Afternoon rains could hamper the dismantling process, which is expected to continue into Friday. City officials said it may be next week before the building at 44 Tehema Ave. will reopen. Employees who work in the building should call the city's 311 line for updates on when they can return to the site.

KTVU reporter Leigh Martinez contributed to this report.

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