Cracks found in a crane

Behind The News
July 1, 2008 1:08:20 PM PDT
They're dismantling a high-rise crane in Lower Manhattan. I suppose we should be grateful to the New York City Dept. of Buildings (DOB), after an inspector found cracks in the crane's turntable. The DOB then ordered the crane taken down. So far so good.

But -- and isn't there always a "but"? - then we find out that the crane is a Kodiak -- the same make, even the same model as the two cranes that have already collapsed in New York this year. Nine people were killed in the two accidents.

And then we also discover that the cracks were on the same part of the crane - the turntable - as the other cranes that collapsed. (Read more)

The story first surfaced this morning in the Daily News, which reported that the DOB did not order the crane dismantled immediately because the crack didn't threaten the crane's integrity.

Now it's being taken down.

There are so many questions we're raising about this, I'm not sure there's enough room even in cyberspace to write them in this space.

But -- why in the world did it take three weeks from the last accident for a crane with the same problem as the one that collapsed, and the same make and model, to be dismantled? I know there are 250 cranes up right now in New York City, and only a handful of inspectors to monitor them. But if I'm in charge and someone tells me there's a Kodiak crane - only four we're told are up right now - I'd think I'd head there posthaste.

Also, what happened to the DOB explanation that one of the cranes that collapsed may have been hit by lightning? Was this turntable also damaged by a thunderbolt?

What's damaged, it seems to me, is the credibility of the agency that's supposed to be in charge of safety at the Boom City that has emerged on the watch of Mayor Bloomberg.

Oh, and by the way, the crane that's being dismantled is owned by New York Crane -- the same company that owned the other two Kodiak cranes that collapsed.

I'm just sayin'.

There's one other crane development tonight: The owner of a building that was badly damaged last month by the collapsing crane is suing New York Crane, and others, for $100 million.

We'll have the latest on the suit, and the crane dismantling, tonight at 11.

Also at 11, we're following a story that's breaking tonight of the federal government telling thousands of U.S. businesses that they are considered high risk terrorist targets because they house large amounts of chemicals.

This applies to many businesses in the tri-state. So just how at-risk are they -- and we? (Read more)

We're also in Prospect Park in Brooklyn, where they're expecting about 150,000 people for a free concert by two stars of the Metropolitan Opera. It should be pretty amazing -- whether you're an opera lover or not.

We'll also have any breaking news of the night, plus Lee Goldberg's weekend AccuWeather forecast, and Marvell Scott (in for Scott Clark) with the night's sports. I hope you can join Liz Cho and me tonight at 11, right after 20/20.

Oh, and one other note, I'll be off all next week, and so will this column. Have a good week.