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Eyewitness accounts of the Boylston Street scaffolding accident

Several people who work along Boylston Street saw or heard the scaffolding crash this afternoon, and gave the following accounts:

John Beresford, who works at Commonwealth Books at 134 Boylston St., was in the back of the store when "I heard a loud bang and the street shook."

Co-worker Brian Trimmer, who saw the collapse, called 911.

Beresford said emergency crews gave CPR to one person and took away another who looked like he had a broken leg.

Just after 2 p.m., crews removed the scaffolding from a crushed gray Honda Civic and removed at least one body.

Jonathan Schwab, a graduate student at Emerson, was grabbing lunch in the state Transportation Building. He said the scene there was relatively calm, but crowds of people were gathered in front of several large-screen TVs in the food court.

Cory Hopkins, a graduate student at Emerson working in a nearby building, said another car rear-ended the Civic after it was crushed. He also saw what appeared to be the body of a construction worker removed from the scene.

Jerry Lanson, a journalism professor at Emerson College, was in his sixth-floor office at 120 Boylston Street when the collapse occurred.

"I didn't see it, but I sure heard it," he said. "The was a loud crash, then people shouting, then sirens."

He compared the sound to being right next to the pins when someone gets a strike in bowling.

"I thought it was a car accident or a truck had lost its load," he said.

He said he was amazed that more people weren't hurt.

"It was a fast, thunderous collapse," he said. "I'd be surprised if anyone could have gotten out of the way."

"It's creepy," he said, "I walk under there all the time."

James Carney, chairman of Carney, Sandoe, and Associates, an education consulting firm at 136 Boylston St., described the aftermath as "just hideous."

His building is directly across from the cemetery on the Common, two doors down from the accident site.

Shortly after 1 p.m., Carney was sitting in his third-floor office with his back to the window when he "heard a thunderous crash, as though somebody had dropped something huge." The scene on the street was "chaos", he said.

He said the man removed from the Honda appeared to be Asian and was wearing surgical greens.

In front of the car, a man in jeans, T-shirt, and work boots staggered and collapsed.

Carney also saw two people down on the sidewalk, another in construction gear who he thought had fallen from the roof, and a pedestrian who appeared to have been hit by debris.

He called 911 "and told them to hurry. They were here within three or four minutes." He saw Mayor Menino briefly visit the scene.

"It's just heartbreaking," he said.

Click the play button below to hear witnesses to Monday's construction accident on Boylston Street. They are Wayne, who would not give his last name; James Tinker, a construction worker for a company not involved in the accident; and Cory Hopkins, an Emerson graduate student.
scaffolding collapse
 Family files suit in scaffold collapse (Boston Globe, 4/13/06)
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