Scaffolding Falls and Hurts 5 Workers, Days Before Oscars

Friday, March 23rd 2001, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

LOS ANGELES – Scaffolding along the red carpet for the Academy Awards ceremony toppled Thursday, injuring five workers, one of them seriously.

Most of the mangled metal fell just behind bleachers that will seat fans and reporters who gather to watch celebrities enter the Shrine Auditorium for Sunday's ceremony. A portion also tumbled onto a tent over the red carpet leading into the auditorium.

Preparations for Sunday's show were halted in the area around the accident, but workers continued moving flowers, stage material and recording equipment into the auditorium through other entrances.

"This will not delay the ceremony at all," city spokesman Richard Andrade said.

The structure had stood about 40 feet wide, 120 feet long and about 20 feet tall. Inspectors at the scene had not determined the cause of the accident.

The aluminum scaffolding, used to hold lights and cameras, was draped with cloth to shield people at the ceremony from the late afternoon sun, Mr. Andrade said.

The condition of the most severely injured person was upgraded from critical to serious within two hours of the accident, said another city spokesman, Bob Collis.

The other four sustained only minor injuries and were being treated at two area hospitals, he said. Two of the victims were on top of the scaffolding, two were behind the bleachers, and one was on the bleachers.

All of the injured, whose names were not released, were working on stage constructon and rigging, Mr. Andrade said.