Cars damaged after scaffolding collapses in San Mateo

Heavy rain Monday afternoon slowed efforts to clear the debris from roadways in San Mateo.

Workers with Junction Scaffolding competed at a larger-than-life game of pick-up sticks as they cleared the southbound lanes of El Camino at West 4th Avenue.

That was after metal and wood from a temporary structure outside a building in the 300 block came crashing to the ground around 10:45 a.m.

San Mateo resident Herman Singh's recently purchased 2020 Chevy was damaged after scaffolding fell onto his car.

"I bought it in late October, just over a month ago. Plates came in two days ago," said Singh.

His recently purchased 2020 Chevy could be headed to the scrap heap. This, after Singh’s left turn from El Camino onto 4th, became an adventure. Falling scaffolding hit and damaged his car.

Singh said it happened just after he made a left turn from El Camino onto 4th Avenue.

"I felt this huge pressure. And I thought somebody rear-ended me. But my car didn’t move forward. And I looked back and all the glass was gone," said Singh.

A total of three vehicles were damaged. Only one person suffered minor injuries, but that person was not taken to a hospital.

"Normally it’s very busy in this area. Especially this time frame in the morning. So we look at it like we were very lucky. There could have been some serious injuries," said Lt. Matthew Earnshaw of the San Mateo Police Department.

Police officials said the San Mateo building inspector was at the scene for part of the day investigating the collapse.

Experts say strong winds are capable of downing scaffolding.

"Because scaffolding is going to be up for a few weeks or a few months, it’s considered a temporary structure," said Dr. Kurt McMullin, a structural engineering professor at San Jose State University. "I think the wind very likely is the reason. But maybe the scaffolding wasn’t designed for what it could have been."

Added Singh, "It’s one of those freaky things. You wouldn't think it would happen here in San Mateo. But it’s mother nature."

Junction Scaffolding declined KTVU's request for comment.