The main part of O’Connell Street was closed off when the four-storey high scaffolding being used in the demolition of a former bakery suddenly came loose on Wednesday night.
A number of residents were moved out of their homes as workers removed the scaffolding.
Engineering personnel from Dungarvan Town Council were at the scene while gardaí closed off the street as shop owners were told to cease trading for the evening.
The Clonmel-based Recall Security Services was also called in and remained at the scene for the night and again yesterday while Health and Safety Authority officials from Waterford inspected the partly demolished building.
Garda Superintendent Michael Blake said he shuddered to think of the consequences if the scaffolding had come away and crashed onto the street.
“There would almost certainly have been a loss of several lives,” he said.
He praised the prompt response of the various services to the emergency, and he also lauded the responsible way in which the public co-operated with the gardaí.
“At the end of the day we can all be thankful that a potential tragedy of monumental proportions has been averted,” he said.
Supermarket owner Liam Power, who was allowed to resume business yesterday morning, said: “The fortunate thing, however, is that no one was injured, but it could indeed have been a major tragedy.”