'Equipment failure' cause of Columbia scaffolding collapse

Tuesday, June 23, 2009 | 9:43 a.m. CDT; updated 3:10 p.m. CDT, Tuesday, June 23, 2009

COLUMBIA — A new federal report says a fatal scaffolding collapse at a Columbia school construction site last year was caused by equipment failure.

The collapse on Nov. 10 killed Alan Hildebrand, a 53-year-old bricklayer, who was working on the walls for a school gym at the Alpha Hart Lewis Elementary School.

A report filed with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration said two parts of the scaffolding failed within 1 to 1½ seconds.

The Columbia Tribune reports that accident investigators did not place blame on any party in the collapse, saying it was a typical wear-and-tear failure.

Hildebrand's relatives have filed a wrongful-death lawsuit alleging the scaffolding was defective.

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