Authorities make progress in aftermath of terrifying crane collapse in Midtown
The Department of Buildings has deemed the crane that partially collapsed safe and there is no fear of further collapse.
As a result, 10th Avenue was reopened to traffic Thursday night and on Friday, crews will bring in a larger crane to take the first one down.
The scene is much different now than it was on Wednesday, when nine civilians and three firefighters were injured after the burning crane partially collapsed from a Manhattan high-rise.
The arm of the crane that was on the street was cleared Thursday, along with debris from the streets and sidewalks.
Two apartments and a lounge inside 555 10th Avenue, the building hit by the crane’s arm, remain evacuated.
As the cleanup continues, so does the investigation, as officials look at everything and everyone — from the crane owner to the general contractor.
City officials say the company was in compliance with the permits leading up to the incident on Wednesday.
However, investigators are learning more about the crane operator and his background. Chris Van Duyne had his license suspended and fined for eight months back in 2008 following an accident that killed a worker.
Officials say the building is currently 47 stories high. Workers had been pouring concrete for what will eventually be a 54-story high rise apartment building.
Photos and videos posted on social media showed flames bursting from the engine compartment of the crane hundreds of feet above street level.
The crane was carrying 16 tons of concrete and as the fire burned, it weakened the cable holding up the concrete until the cable gave way.
The crane boom went swinging like a sledgehammer, slicing a neighboring building, before both it and the concrete collapsed onto the street below.
“As you can see from the debris on the street, this could have been much worse,” Mayor Eric Adams said, noting that the street at that hour of the morning is often filled with pedestrians, cars and buses.
Nearby buildings were evacuated and some witnesses told Eyewitness News they had minutes to grab what they could and get to safety.
“I heard this loud noise and then she ran into my room and said ”the crane just went through my window,” evacuated resident Amanda Drewes said.
Officials said the crane operator was there when the fire broke out but could not put it out and had to evacuate. He was able to escape safely.
Within a few minutes, firefighters were shooting water down at the blaze from a balcony of an adjacent building.
What was it like responding to yesterday’s crane fire and collapse? Take look at the footage from #FDNY Robotics Unit drones. The drones were an integral part of an operation that had the FDNY putting out the fire, evacuating tenants, and assessing structural damage. pic.twitter.com/LncodGz7mg
— FDNY (@FDNY) July 27, 2023
More than 200 police officers and firefighters fanned out across the scene as 10th Avenue was closed for safety reasons until further notice.
New York City Buildings Commissioner Jimmy Oddo identified the company that operated the crane as New York Crane & Equipment Corp.
Records show the company was involved in two deadly collapses in Manhattan 15 years ago.
The company was previously charged with manslaughter and criminally negligent homicide in connection with a collapse in May 2008 that resulted in two deaths at East 91st Street and 1st Avenue. The company and its then-owner were found not guilty in 2012.
The company was also involved in a crane collapse in March 2008 at East 51st Street and 2nd Avenue that killed seven people.