A crane boom and the 16 tons of concrete it was carrying collapsed following a fire in Manhattan’s Hell’s Kitchen. Construction was underway on 550 10th Avenue, a 47-story mixed-use building. Designed by Handel Architects, the building is planned to include 450 residences, 140 of which will be middle-income, behind a rust-red metal panel facade. According to the Department of Buildings, the building is being developed by the Gotham Organization, with Monadnock Construction as the general contractor on the project and NYC Crane and Equipment as the crane owner.
A fire initially broke out in the engine room, according to the New York City Fire Department (FDNY), which was called-in around 7:25 a.m. The crane operator tried to extinguish the fire, but was “overwhelmed,” according to FDNY First Deputy Commissioner Joseph Pfeifer. The fire then heated the cables that were holding the boom, weakening them, and leading to the boom’s collapse. In dramatic fashion, the boom and concrete it was holding swung across 41st Street, striking a tower. Concrete and crane debris rained over 41st Street, with videos showing pedestrians running away as the dangling boom swung over the street.
CRANE FIRE AND PARTIAL COLLAPSE: another angle of tower crane jib toppling in Hells Kitchen, striking apartment tower at 555 Tenth Ave. pic.twitter.com/wZFzUgIRin
— Tony Aiello (@AielloTV) July 26, 2023
A tower crane has caught fire and collapsed on 10th Ave and W.41st St.
FDNY has gone to four alarms on scene.
* Please avoid the area of 10th Av b/n 41st & 42nd St. *
More updates soon.pic.twitter.com/cZpiWiLa9V
— Mark D. Levine (@MarkLevineNYC) July 26, 2023
Mayor Eric Adams said that it was “fortunate” that this did not happen at a busier time as the street was quiet relative to rush hour. Four civilians, including construction workers, sustained minor injuries, as did two firefighters. No one was seriously injured, and the crane operator was able to escape unscathed once they realized that they would not be able to put out the fire with the hand extinguishers on hand. Firefighters evacuated surrounding buildings, and extended hose lines to their rooftops to begin work on extinguishing the fire.
FDNY units remain on scene of a crane collapse at 550 Tenth Avenue in Manhattan. Use caution in the area. pic.twitter.com/BLoAyPGdhF
— FDNY (@FDNY) July 26, 2023
New York City Department of Buildings (DOB) Commissioner Jimmy Oddo said that there was no prior inclination that there were issues with the crane in operation, and that one minor infraction previously issued on the construction site was unrelated. Oddo said that DOB structural engineers from the Cranes & Derricks Unit are currently inspecting the building that was hit, 555 10th Avenue, to assess the extent of damage. 555 10th Avenue is mostly residences, including affordable housing, with a charter school and retail on lower levels. The building, designed by SLCE Architects, was completed in 2016.
While the cause of the fire is under investigation, Oddo said that the DOB would also be commissioning an independent assessment, which is consistent with how the department has responded to other disasters, including the Ann Street garage collapse.