No fine issued for summer scaffolding collapse in Berkeley

The investigation into the scaffolding crash near the southwest corner of West 44th Avenue and Stuart Street closed about two weeks ago.

staff photo
The Grateful Gnome in Denver's Berkeley neighborhood has to push back its open date to a scaffolding collapse at an adjacent site, June 13, 2017. (Adrian D. Garcia/Denverite)

The Grateful Gnome in Denver's Berkeley neighborhood had to push back its open date to a scaffolding collapse at an adjacent site, June 13, 2017. (Adrian D. Garcia/Denverite)

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s investigation into the scaffolding crash that sent wooden boards through the ceiling of a Berkeley brewery resulted in no fines or citations, a spokeswoman said this week.

OSHA did not provide any details about its investigation except to say no one was injured during the crash in June and the agency’s main goal is to keep people safe. Both Grateful Gnome Sandwich Shoppe & Brewery and the adjacent housing development hope to be open before the end of the year.

The investigation into the scaffolding crash near the southwest corner of West 44th Avenue and Stuart Street closed about two weeks ago, said regional spokeswoman for OSHA Chauntra Rideaux.

On June 12, scaffolding from the Tennyson 47 apartment project crashed on top of the adjacent building Grateful Gnome is redeveloping for its brewery. The owner of the apartment project Michael Mathieson maintained the collapse was an accident due to high winds, while the brewery owner claimed the situation was avoidable.

“We knew OSHA wasn’t going to fine us because the scaffolding wasn’t in use and hadn’t been certified for use,” Mathieson said. “This was just in the process of being installed, and unfortunately the wind kicked it up and knocked it over.”

Daniel Appell, the owner of Grateful Gnome, his head brewer Bess Dougherty and another employee were working on the brewery at the time of the crash, according to Appell.

“It doesn’t surprise me that he didn’t get cited,” Appell told Denverite on Friday in a message, adding “apparently gross-negligence almost killing three innocent humans” doesn’t factor into OSHA’s decisions.

Appell said reconstruction started on the brewery Monday and he hopes to be open before the end of the year.

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Business & data reporter Adrian D. Garcia can be reached via email at agarcia@denverite.com or twitter.com/adriandgarcia.

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