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Man who shot stunning video of crane collapsing in Hell’s Kitchen was “in shock” as debris flew everywhere



NEW YORK — A damaged crane remains perched high over 10th Avenue in Hell’s Kitchen on Thursday, more than 24 hours after it collapsed onto the street below

A large part of 10th Avenue between West 41st and 42nd streets remains blocked off because of the debris. 

Jimmy Farrington recorded stunning video of the crane collapsing Wednesday morning. 

“I was kind of in shock. I didn’t really know how to process it,” said Farrington.

The crane caught fire before the arm fell 45 stories onto 10th Avenue.   

“A minute into recording, the entire piece just snapped off,” said Farrington. “I just don’t think that people were fully prepared for it to have happened so fast.” 


As the crane fell, it collided into a residential building across the way. 

“A couple of windows shattered and all of the debris started to fly all over the place,” said Farrington. 

Twelve people, including three firefighters, suffered minor injuries. 

A high-ranking city official told CBS New York that hydraulic fluid may have leaked onto a hot plate near the crane’s engine and started the fire. 

“Should a hot plate have been there? That’s probably not the smartest idea,” said Michael Shenoda, an assistant professor of civil engineering and technology at Farmingdale State College. “It’s pretty high pressure up there, the hydraulics in order to work at that height and to operate with the weights that it does.” 


Shenoda said the collapse was inevitable once the fire grew. 

“This is very sensitive kind of equipment here,” said Shenoda. “Once a fire like that gets out of control, look out below because steel is very vulnerable and susceptible to fire, weakens very quickly.” 

FDNY officials said the fire started while workers were lifting 16 tons of concrete at a building under construction at 550 10th Avenue. The crane operator tried to put out the fire himself, but couldn’t, officials said. He escaped just before it collapsed. 

“We give a lot of credit to the crane operator, but the fire overwhelmed that operator and had to exit the crane,” said FDNY Deputy Commissioner Joseph Pfeifer. 

NYC Crane Collapse

More than 200 first responders were already on their way to the fire. Some worked to extinguish it from across six lanes of traffic, while others evacuated the surrounding buildings. 

The crane is owned by New York Crane and Equipment Corporation, the same company that owned a crane that collapsed and killed two construction workers on the Upper East Side in 2008. The company and its owner faced a wrongful death lawsuit and were charged with manslaughter, but were later acquitted. 

The Department on Buildings said all permits and inspections at the Hell’s Kitchen site were up to date. The crane was last inspected in June. 


Source: CBS


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