New York City investigating 'unique' crane fire, collapse in Midtown, Manhattan

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Thursday, July 27, 2023
What caused large crane to catch fire, collapse in Manhattan?
7 On Your Side Investigates reporter Dan Krauth has more on the investigation into the cause of the large crane collapse in Midtown, Manhattan.

MIDTOWN, Manhattan (WABC) -- Multiple sources tell Eyewitness News the source of the crane collapse fire Wednesday morning was a hydraulic fuel leak. City leaders aren't releasing an official cause until the investigation is complete.

Over the last 20 years, the New York City skyline has seen it all.

A crane collapsed to the ground, a cable snapped, a crane spun uncontrollably in the wind and another leaked fuel onto the ground below. But the city hasn't experienced a crane catching fire in recent history.

"This is unique," said former NYC DOB Commissioner Rick Chandler. "Looking at some of the videos I've seen on social media, it looks like the engine, there was an issue with the engine and the fuel that provides the power to the crane."

A large crane caught fire and partially collapsed Wednesday morning on 10th Avenue in Manhattan, NYC.

At a press conference, city leaders said they're conducting a full investigation into what went wrong and the companies who operate the construction site and the crane. As of now, all of the proper paperwork was in order.

"All permits for the building, for the crane operation, were pulled and operating per those permits," said NYC DOB Commissioner Jimmy Oddo.

The city last inspected the crane itself on June 15 and inspectors were last at the construction site two weeks ago during a routine enforcement inspection.

The city adopted stricter crane regulations after multiple people were killed in a crane accident in 2008, and again in 2016 when a different crane collapsed in Tribeca.

"The rules that came out of that were extensive, so that's what I mean about the cranes being so heavily regulated and for the right reasons," Chandler said. "It appears that this is one of the things that wasn't eliminated in terms of making it zero risk."

And now the focus is on inspecting the other cranes dotting the skyline in a city known for its high-rises and its never ending construction.


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