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Three killed in Dilworth construction site scaffolding collapse

Rescue workers outside an apartment building
David Boraks
Rescue workers at the scene of a deadly scaffolding collapse in Dilworth.

The Charlotte Fire Department said Monday that three people were killed when scaffolding collapsed at a Dilworth construction site.

Three people were killed Monday morning when scaffolding collapsed at a Dilworth construction site, emergency responders said.

The collapse happened shortly after 9 a.m. at the construction site in the 700 block of East Morehead Street. The Charlotte Fire Department and Medic, the county's emergency medical services agency, said two other patients were taken to a hospital for treatment of minor injuries and were expected to recover.

Monday is a federal holiday for New Year's Day, but the site appeared to be active, with pictures from the scene showing workers in reflective construction vests. Emergency crews were still working to secure the scene by late Monday morning, and established a family reunification site at Morehead and Euclid Avenue for relatives to connect with workers.

The names of those killed were not immediately released by authorities.

The scaffolding collapse happened on the interior side of a 16-story apartment building under construction, officials said. Approved in 2020, The Hanover East Morehead apartments will be up to 170 feet tall, according to rezoning plans filed with the city of Charlotte, and will contain up to 350 apartments and a small ground-floor café.

Real estate records show the Houston-based Hanover Company bought the 1.5-acre site in 2021 for $11 million. The company owns and manages more than 75,000 apartments nationwide. According to its website, Hanover is a "vertically integrated" company with its own construction and development divisions. A company representative could not immediately be reached for comment.

A construction accident killed three workers at Hanover Dilworth, an apartment building under construction.
David Boraks
A construction accident killed three workers at Hanover Dilworth, an apartment building under construction.

The Hanover is one of several large apartment towers under construction in the area. Adjacent to the Hanover site, an age-restricted community for seniors is under construction with up to 220 apartments. And the new, nearby Atrium-Wake Forest medical school and associated research and medical campus are expected to further transform the area in the coming years.

Federal investigators from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration are expected to join the investigation.

Falls are the second-most common cause of workplace fatalities, behind transportation incidents such as highway wrecks, according to OSHA data. In 2021, deaths due caused by falls, slips, and trips in the workplace increased 5.6%, to 850 nationwide. The construction industry had the highest number of fatalities of any industry, at 986.

This is a developing story. Check back for more updates.

Ely Portillo has worked as a journalist in Charlotte for over a decade. Before joining WFAE, he worked at the UNC Charlotte Urban Institute and the Charlotte Observer.
David Boraks previously covered climate change and the environment for WFAE. See more at www.wfae.org/climate-news. He also has covered housing and homelessness, energy and the environment, transportation and business.