Buildings safe to reenter surrounding SoMa high-rise after construction emergency

- San Francisco city officials have reopened all streets except Tehama between 1st & 2nd streets in the South of Market neighborhood where a high-rise construction emergency took place Wednesday afternoon. The situation was resolved around 9 p.m. 

Fire officials evacuated 16 nearby buildings when a partial hydraulic failure happened at 41 Tehama Street. All of those buildings are now safe to re-enter except 44 Tehama, according to authorities.

The building under construction was initially reported to have prompted concerns that a 2,000 pound concrete wall could have collapsed. 

According to San Francisco Fire Department (SFFD), the construction company made the emergency call at 2:45 p.m. 

The building is a 37-story, 403-unit luxury residential tower near the Transbay Transit Center site. The building is being developed by Hines and Invesco Real Estate. The risk was said to be coming from the 30th floor of the building.

The developer said those previous reports of the concrete slab being in danger of falling were false. City inspectors have now backed up that claim saying that was not the case.

"The interior forming system and the concrete placement arm have been secured and are being evaluated by engineers to bring it back to level," Hines and Invesco said in a written statement.  

Fire officials said they flew an engineer to the site to assess what was expected to be a multi-hour incident. Other engineers also responded to the scene to assess the situation. 

At a 5:45 p.m. media briefing SFFD said a precariously placed crane was secured and the concrete-slab wall was shored up and that there was no imminent danger to the surrounding buildings below, many of which were thought to be mostly businesses. However, a viewer called KTVU and said at least one of the evacuated buildings was residential because he owned the property. 
   
The evacuated sites included 543, 531, 527, 505, 547, 555, and 557 Howard St., 44 Tehama St. and 235 Second St.

"If it does fall, the worst case scenario is we're going to have some structural damage to the buildings below. We've been aggressively evacuating, so we're pretty confident we won't have any injuries," San Francisco fire spokesman Jonathan Baxter said early on in the day. 

At 4:30 p.m. SFFD Assistant Fire Chief Tom Siragusa said he didn't  think the crane would tip or that the concrete slab would fall and that the surrounding buildings were evacuated out of an abundance of caution. 
   
San Francisco Department of Emergency Management officials warned people to avoid the area between Howard, Folsom, First and Second streets.

The project at 41 Tehama St.  Construction began in 2015, according to a 2015 statement from development and construction management firm Lend Lease.

SFPD, SFMTA, SFDEM CHP, and PG&E all assisted SFFD on this incident.

 


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