In a dramatic incident early on a Wednesday morning in Hell’s Kitchen, Manhattan, a construction crane caught fire and partially collapsed, causing widespread alarm and injuries.
The fire broke out around 7:25 AM in the engine compartment of a crane perched about 45 stories high at an under-construction building located on 10th Avenue, between West 40th and West 41st streets. The incident led to 12 people sustaining non-life-threatening injuries, including three firefighters.
The crane, which was carrying a 16-ton load of concrete at the time, saw its arm snap off and crash to the ground, causing not only physical damage but also sparking fears among the local population and workers at the site.
Bystander footage captured the harrowing moments when the top of the crane, engulfed in flames, suddenly gave way, resulting in rubble raining down onto the streets below. The sight of New Yorkers fleeing the scene added to the chaos of the morning.
Preliminary investigations into the cause of the fire suggest that hydraulic fluid may have leaked onto a hot plate near the engine of the crane, igniting the blaze. The Department of Buildings, alongside other city officials, is conducting a thorough investigation to confirm the cause and assess the structural integrity of surrounding buildings, especially the 54-story mixed-use building from which the crane collapsed.
This incident marks another entry in the history of crane-related accidents in New York City, shedding light on the inherent risks of construction in densely populated urban environments.
The crane involved is owned by New York Crane & Equipment Corp., a company with a history of crane accidents, including a notable collapse in 2008 that resulted in fatalities. These incidents have led to increased scrutiny and the implementation of stricter safety measures regarding crane operations within the city.
The response from emergency services was swift, with the FDNY, police, and other authorities arriving quickly on the scene to manage the fire and ensure public safety.
Mayor Eric Adams commented on the incident, remarking on the fortune that more people were not injured given the potential for greater harm. The incident led to evacuations of nearby buildings and has sparked discussions on construction safety and regulations in New York City.
The Hell’s Kitchen crane collapse is a stark reminder of the potential dangers posed by construction in bustling city environments and highlights the need for continuous improvement in safety standards and practices within the industry.