Personal Injury Lawyers New York, NY

Fire and Crane Collapse in NYC Raises Concerns

Large cranes operate on the NYC skyline

Crane owner has a history of deadly NYC construction accidents.

Concerns about construction safety in New York City were recently raised following an industrial construction accident in Midtown Manhattan that sent about a dozen people to the hospital for treatment of injuries.

On July 26, at around 7:30 a.m., a machine deck fire sent a 180-foot construction crane boom hurtling 45 stories down onto the 10th Ave sidewalk near 41st St. When it collapsed, the crane was carrying 16 tons of concrete at 550 10th Ave, the site of a luxury rental tower still under construction. The crane crashed into the high-rise building across the street before striking the pavement below, according to news reports.

Crane collapses are an ongoing risk in New York, which is one of the top 5 states annually reporting the most fatal accidents involving cranes. On average, New York reports two crane-related deaths every year, according to federal data.

The most recent crane collapse has reinvigorated safety concerns and calls for a crackdown on crane owners and operators as the city did around 2008. Following several fatal crane disasters in the city, officials demanded more operator training and inspections. However, the effectiveness of these measures is unclear: The same company that owned the cranes involved in the 2008 fatal accidents owns the crane involved in the July disaster.

Crane accident causes

When a crane boom collapses, it is often due to one or more structural failures like defective or malfunctioning equipment, human error, overloading, ground shift, miscommunication, or an electrical short, among many other possibilities. Preliminary analysis says the most recent Manhattan crane disaster was likely caused by a hydraulic fluid leak from the engine compartment onto a metal plate, which may have sparked the fire, according to local news.

The incident is under investigation by the City Buildings Commissioner. Construction project contractors and businesses that may be involved include the general contractor, crane engineer, concrete safety manager, and crane owner NY Crane & Equipment Corp.

This is the third time in 15 years that a crane owned by NY Crane & Equipment has collapsed in Manhattan. In 2008, two separate incidents of crane collapse involving the company were fatal. In that case, the company's owner was charged but eventually acquitted of manslaughter.

Injuries related to crane collapse

Workers involved in the 10th Ave crane collapse attempted to extinguish the deck blaze that precipitated the fall. However, the available fire extinguisher they used was reportedly too small to handle the situation. Evacuating workers tried to escape using the elevator but found that it was not working. They resorted to a ladder leading to lower floors.

Overall, a dozen people were injured, including three firefighters. But the situation could have been worse. Injuries were limited by the fast action of construction workers, said NYC Mayor Adams. Employees blocked traffic and pushed back pedestrians from the fall zone, according to local news.

The type and extent of injuries suffered by victims have not been released. However, crane collapse typically causes injuries like traumatic brain injuries (TBI), spinal cord damage, bone fractures, and amputations.

Crane collapses are preventable tragedies

Crane collapses should not happen. Business owners are legally required to comply with federal and state standards and regulations that help prevent construction disasters and crane collapse. However, not all companies follow the rules. If a New York City worker is injured in a crane accident due to negligence or error, they are entitled to compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, and other costs. If a worker is killed, their family can pursue legal action for wrongful death.

At Keogh Crispi, P.C., our New York City construction accident lawyer fights aggressively for the rights and compensation of injured workers. If you were hurt in a New York crane accident, you need an experienced construction accident attorney on your side. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation.

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