Crane Catches Fire, Partially Collapses in NYC, Injures 12

Jordanne Waldschmidt Headshot
Updated Jul 27, 2023
Firefighters work to put out a fire after a crane collapse in new york city
Around 7:45 a.m. July 26, FDNY units responded to a call at 550 10th Avenue. The crane operator working noticed a fire break out on the crane and tried to put it out but was unsuccessful. Cables holding 16 tons of concrete were weakened by fire and gave way, causing the boom and load to fall, hitting an adjacent building.

Editor's Note: This story was updated July 27, 2023, regarding the number of injuries.

A crane working on top of a building in New York City partially collapsed on Wednesday morning after its engine compartment caught fire.

The boom of the crane and 16 tons of concrete fell 45 stories to the ground at 550 10th Avenue in Midtown Manhattan, injuring nine civilians, including construction workers, and three firefighters on the scene, according to the New York City Fire Department. Injuries were non-life-threatening, with one firefighter transported to the hospital for chest pains.   

First Deputy Commissioner Joseph Pfeifer said the fire heated the crane’s cable, weakening it and causing the collapse. “The crane operator saw that the fire started and tried to extinguish it. We give a lot of credit to the operator, but the fire overwhelmed that operator, and he had to exit the crane.” The operator was able to get out safely.

“As you can see from the debris on the street, this could’ve been much worse,” New York City Mayor Eric Adams added. “We were extremely fortunate this was not during a busy time of day.”

The incident occurred around 7:35 a.m. Officials have requested the public avoid 10th Avenue and 11th Avenue from West 41st Street to West 42nd Street.

Drone footage confirmed that most of the fire has been extinguished. Crews will begin the process of dismantling the crane from the top of the building today.

According to Department of Buildings Commissioner Jimmy Otto, an investigation is underway. The building under construction was intended to be a 54-story mixed-use building. Structural engineers will assess the integrity of the building the crane was on and the building the crane struck, located at 555 10th Avenue.

Monadnock Construction was the general contractor on the project. A prior unrelated incident occurred early at the site when Monadnock struck a Con Edison electric line during the excavation.

Otto also named Valjato Engineering as the designer on the project, Cross Country as the crane user, and New York City Crane and Equipment as the crane owner. 

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