At least six people were injured, including two firefighters, after a construction crane carrying 16 tons of concrete caught fire, collapsed, and struck the side of another neighboring skyscraper before falling onto a rush-hour Manhattan street on Wednesday morning, according to emergency medical personnel with the FDNY.
A chilling video shows terrified commuters running for their lives as the crane came down crashing onto the street after the equipment suffered a dramatic failure. According to the NYPD, the crane was operating at 550 10th Avenue, an under-construction, vacant building near Hudson Yards, between West 41st and West 42nd Streets, when it experienced a sudden fire in the cabin area around 7:30 am.
The crane was seen hitting the side of the 55-floor 555 10th Avenue apartment building located across the street. However, an eyewitness mentioned that the tower was only struck with wet cement and didn't sustain significant damage.
According to construction worker Richard Paz, who spoke to DailyMail.com, the fire broke out after a cable used to transport concrete to the top of the site overheated. However, the official cause of the fire is still under investigation.
Chilling video footage shot on Wednesday morning shows the crane collapsing and hitting a glass residential skyscraper located across the street. Nearby hotels and apartment blocks were swiftly evacuated as a safety precaution.
Screams from commuters and construction workers on ground level could be heard as people in blood were being stretchered into ambulances, according to eyewitnesses.
"You see the debris on the street, this could have been much worse. We were fortunate that this was not a busy time of day," Mayor Adams told reporters at the scene.
"We're also fortunate that first responders responded in such a manner and made the right evaluation of how to look at the fire and crisis we were presented with and came up with [the right solution]," Adams said.
An unrelated construction worker who had been installing sprinkler systems on the 26th story of the same building said, "We made it to about the 12th floor — the crane is burning the whole time — and then all you hear is, clink-clink BOOM," according to Pix 11.
Another construction worker who was also witness to the terrifying incident said that it was "the loudest sound I've ever heard." "It felt like an earthquake," he told the outlet.
More than 200 firefighters urgently responded to the scene and bravely fought the raging inferno that engulfed a nearby balcony, reaching an astounding 500 feet above the Manhattan skyline this morning.
According to authorities, two firefighters and four civilians each sustained non-life-threatening wounds. At least three people were hospitalized.
One of the firefighters was complaining of chest symptoms, according to FDNY's First Deputy Fire Commissioner Joseph Pfeifer.
"At that point, we had injuries to civilians and firefighters, but they were minor," Pfeifer also said.
The cause of the fire in the engine cabin area of the crane remains unclear.
The dramatic incident resulted in debris being scattered onto the streets, leading to injuries to multiple people below, and causing storefront glass to shatter.
The fire's intensity caused the crane's cable, holding 16 tons of concrete, to overheat and snap, ultimately leading to the collapse, as explained by the FDNY deputy commissioner.
According to officials, the crane operator was present at the scene when the machinery caught fire, but despite being there, they were unable to put out the flames.
Despite the crane operator's efforts to extinguish the fire, the flames intensified, making it impossible to control.
As a result, the fire continued to spread, leading to the collapse of the crane's top half at approximately 7:30 am. The collapsed portion broke off and struck the adjacent 555 Ten apartment building before finally crashing onto the ground.
The crane is owned by Lomma, a New Jersey-based company. In the past, the company's late founder, James Lomma, was held liable for a payment of $96 million to compensate two construction workers who lost their lives in 2008 due to the collapse of another crane owned by the company.
In 2016, a 600-foot-tall construction crane collapsed in downtown Manhattan, resulting in a tragic incident where buildings, pedestrians, and parked cars were affected. A Harvard-trained mathematician lost his life as he was on his way to work, and three other individuals sustained injuries during the incident.