11 Injuries In Midtown Manhattan Crane Collapse

11 Injuries In Midtown Manhattan Crane Collapse
Calendar icon August 21, 2023
11 Injuries In Midtown Manhattan Crane Collapse

Nine civilians and two firefighters sustained injuries after a crane collapsed on 10th Avenue. Reports say a fire broke out in the crane’s engine around 7:30 a.m. The crane’s operator attempted to put out the flames with a hand-held fire extinguisher, but when these attempts failed, he fled to safety. The crane carried a 16-ton load, which struck another building on 555 10th Avenue on the way down.

More than 200 emergency response workers and firefighters responded to the incident. The fire department reported that the height of the fire made it extremely difficult to get it under control. The challenge stems from needing to supply water at that height via hoses. In the end, the firefighters climbed to the roof of a building across the street and sprayed water across the street from high-power hoses.

Reports From Witnesses

Witnesses described the incident as terrifying to watch, with some saying it brought back memories of the September 11 attack on the World Trade Center. One worker nearby exited her building between 34th and 35th Streets after seeing people gathered outside. She believed they were filming the sunset, but the crane caught their interest instead. It fell within a minute, which she described as occurring almost in slow motion.

At the scene of the incident, one contractor told the New York Times that he was working on the 26th floor when he saw sparks. He ran down the stairs with other steamfitters and reached the 11th floor before the crane fell past them.

Another worker rushed into action after seeing the fire trucks approaching the building. He descended into the basement to ensure the activation of the sprinkler system by releasing air from a pipe. He felt the crane fall while in the basement and feared the building would collapse on top of him.

In the building next door, one man realized what had happened only after hearing the loud explosion from the fall, followed by a fireball. Even though the flames and the explosion were much smaller, they still brought the 9/11 terrorist attacks back to mind.

The Cause of the Collapse

The fire began in the crane’s engine, located in its tower. Following a preliminary analysis, firefighters reported that a break in the hydraulic line caused the fire. The hydraulic fluid leaked onto a hot plate near the crane’s engine. Despite the damage and injuries, firefighters breathed a sigh of relief because fires of this nature can cause much more severe damage. They also commended the crane operator for attempting to put out the fire.

A rupture in the hydraulic line of a crane can lead to a fire due to the combustible nature of the hydraulic fluid. When the line breaks, it releases the highly pressurized fluid inside. If this fluid comes into contact with a hot surface, such as the hot plate, it can reach its flash point and ignite.

Given the high-pressure situation, the fluid can start to spray, spreading the fire rapidly. In this case, the fire initiated from the crane’s engine, indicating that the hydraulic fluid settled onto a hot component, triggering the disastrous event.

The Parties Involved

Officials identified Monadnock Construction as the general contractor on the project, which involved the construction of a 54-floor high-rise mixed-use building. The rented crane came from New York Crane & Equipment and received its name, Lomma, from the late James F. Lomma.

Ironically, Mr. Lomma was an entrepreneur in the crane and construction space who filed for bankruptcy after his cranes became involved in several high-profile and catastrophic injuries. A civil trial led to a $96 million verdict, allegedly prompting the bankruptcy filing.

Monadnock Construction also has prior safety infractions and accidents that endangered others. It later issued a statement confirming its commitment to safety and ongoing cooperation with authorities.

Officials have also reported that all permits and inspections for the project were up-to-date at the time of the incident. Nevertheless, they have since issued a stop work order.

The Aftermath

Officials say the building struck by the crane must be inspected to determine whether the impact caused structural damage. Based on our experience, if the inspection determines that severe damage occurred, this could lead to the following actions:

  • Temporary evacuation of the building until fully repaired.
  • Repair and reinforcement of existing structure to ensure stability
  • Temporary stabilization measures for a limited period until they can implement more permanent solutions

The liable party would need to cover the expenses associated with these actions. Injured persons may also seek compensation for their injuries or any damages related to the relocation and the effect on their work. The authorities are still investigating to determine the liable party.

Potential Injuries at the Construction Site

Authorities disclosed that one firefighter experienced chest pains and was removed from the site. However, they have not yet released information on the injuries suffered by the other persons involved. Here are some of the types of injuries we generally encounter in cases like these:

  • Burns and complications from smoke inhalation
  • Traumatic brain injuries
  • Neck, back and spinal cord injuries 
  • Broken bones or fractures
  • Contusions, lacerations and abrasions 
  • Slips, trips and falls while trying to evacuate or rush to safety

Cellino Law Stands With the Injured Persons at the Construction Site

At Cellino Law, we are committed to helping injured persons receive the financial compensation they deserve, regardless of how complex their cases may be. New Yorkers have trusted a Cellino Law firm for over 60 years to advise them and protect their rights in matters related to personal injury.

Our lawyers represent injured clients in construction site accidents and crane collapses. We have a thorough understanding of New York State laws and an extensive network of resources that can help us build strong cases for our clients.

We know that construction site accidents often lead to severe and complex injuries. If you or a loved one sustained injuries in a crane collapse or other construction-related incident, our experienced attorneys will fight for your rights and work hard to secure the compensation you deserve. Contact the Cellino Law Team today for a free consultation.

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Content checked by the personal injury attorney Ross Cellino. As a family man and a trial attorney, I pride myself on winning cases and serving the community. With over 35 years of experience, I understand the function of a jury, how juries arrive at conclusions, and the role that the jury plays in administering justice. I know how to win cases. You can find us in Manhattan, Buffalo, Melville, Rochester, Brooklyn, The Bronx, Queens and other locations throughout New York.

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