The FDNY arrived on the scene quickly and rescued the mechanic.
It took hours, though, to get the salt spreader safely back inside the garaged, directly back through the hole it created.
It was a delicate, carefully choreographed operation. Cranes slowly lifted up the dangling front end of the salt spreader and tow trucks inside the sanitation garage pulled the rig back in.
Below, onlookers gathered, mesmerized.
How half of this 16-ton salt spreader came to be hanging outside the maintenance garage is still the question. The sanitation department says their mechanic, 56-year-old Robert Legall, was performing some routine maintenance on the salt spreader this morning and somehow lost control of it. The rig crashed through the wall of the garage and was left dangling outside. Legall braced himself against the steering wheel inside the teetering truck until help arrived.
Firefighters rescued the trapped mechanic using their ladder and bucket. He was taken to Elmhurst Hospital and treated for neck and back injuries.
"We need to talk to him to get his statement about what happened," Sanitation Commissioner John Doherty said.
The department will also be examining that truck and trying to figure out what went wrong.
Two cranes took a few pieces off the truck so that it could fit back through the hole it created. Workers pushed the truck back inside the garage and they'll take it away from there.