Scaffolding collapses near Minute Maid Park

Scaffolding collapsed one block away from Minute Maid Park

- It was a chaotic scene, best case scenario, on Crawford Street in downtown Houston just after 11 a.m. on Friday.

Six workers were taken to hospitals after scaffolding collapsed outside the 500 Crawford luxury apartments which were still under construction and scheduled to open in late October.

One of the workers in the construction zone at the time of the collapse was Julio Zavala. He was working on the site as an electrician.

"I just heard so much noise and I ran towards it," says Zavala. "There was the guy on the floor bleeding." He ran right into the proverbial fire to help someone in need.

Zavala, a Houston resident, says that was his main goal when it sounded like the whole building was coming down around him.

"I helped him out -- I dragged him into the garage then I called 911 right away," adds Zavala. The electrician was not the only hero on the scene.

More than 100 Houston firefighters responded to the collapse at a site where all of the 200 members of the construction crew had to be accounted for. There were people who walked away, lucky if they only got minor injuries from the devastating incident. Now it's time for safety investigators to determine what went wrong.

Jorge Jaso walked over to reporters in front of Memorial Hermann Hospital - Texas Medical Center and recalled the moment that the scaffolding collapsed, sending bricks flying and workers crashing to the ground.

"We were working normally, as always"  said Jaso, "all of the sudden, we felt a strong tremor.” That's when Jaso says he looked over and saw the scaffolding fall. A terrifying moment for the construction worker who was working on a wall, laying bricks and stone, when it happened.

“I was on the second floor when it all came falling down," says Jaso. He adds that he saw what he thought were ten men injured on the first floor and estimates that almost 20 of them were working above. 

“Doctors checked me very well and found nothing serious," says Jaso. After receiving pain medication, he walked out of the hospital, grateful to be alive, saying, "It is a miracle."

Ezekiel Vazquez was also discharged from Memorial Hermann Hospital. He stood outside for more than an hour waiting for a taxi cab to take him home, after literally hanging on for dear life just hours earlier. He was working near Jaso and says that when Jaso jumped through a second-story window, he grabbed onto the side of the building, as the scaffolding fell from underneath his feet. Covered in dust from head to toe, he recounted how he was battered by bricks. 

“They struck me in the chest and back -- that’s where I have pain," says Vazquez to a group of reporters. "My chest hurts the most.” He says he had only been with the construction company for five months and also felt fortunate to have survived. 

Neither man said he knew what caused the accident.

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