Hell’s Kitchen residents were returning home this evening after being evacuated from their apartments when a crane went up in flames and collapsed on 10th Avenue. The cleanup has begun, but the removal of the burnt-out crane cabin will take some time (and another crane).
Residents from 555TEN (which was hit by the falling crane), The Victory, MiMa, 500 W42nd Street, YOTEL and Covenant House, were evacuated “out of an abundance of caution.” At the same time, City officials inspected the damaged structure above the 47-story residential skyscraper at 550 10th Avenue.
This evening, FDNY released photos of their operation spraying water on the burning crane, the damage to 555TEN from the crane hitting the top of the luxury building and the aftermath of the crane’s boom on 10th Avenue. The blaze escalated to a five-alarm incident.
Manhattan Borough President Mark Levine, speaking at the Community Board 4 Board meeting this evening, praised the fast actions of FDNY and EMS workers: “They completely cleared the block before the crane fell. They managed to get up to the rooftops of neighboring buildings. It could have been so much worse.” He explained that engine oil in the crane cab ignited, causing the fire. Levine said that the crane operator called 911 and tried to put the fire out with an extinguisher in the cab, but could not get it under control.
“We need to understand what happened. There is an investigation underway,” said the Borough President. He told the meeting that to get the burnt-out cabin down, a crane of the same height or higher would need to be put alongside the damaged structure. He said that “this will not be a quick job” and that neighbors should expect disruption over the coming days.
Neighbors had to spend eight hours outside their homes on one of the hottest days of the summer so far. Ryan Brodsky from 555TEN initially went with his dog to Astro’s Dog Run, but decided to rent a room at POD hotel to get out of the heat. His building eventually allowed residents back at around 3:30pm via a side door.
Michael William G told us that he and his partner had to leave their apartment at The Victory diagonally across from the incident. He said that they struggled with low batteries on their phones, but spent the day hopped from Target to Starbucks to the Galaxy Diner — and “eventually cooled down with a slushy from 7/11.”
Cora-hua Gina, who lives at 555TEN, posted pictures of the damage to the building’s luxury rooftop swimming pool area, saying: “I guess no more rooftop for now. Glad nothing more serious happened.”
Crews from city agencies are working to clear the 16 tons of concrete and crane boom from 10th Avenue while working on securing the burnt-out cabin of the crane overhead.
Residents from MiMa were allowed back into their building at 4pm. Officials said that the young residents of Covenant House are still unable to return to their building, but 440 W41st Street has allowed occupants to return.
YOTEL on 10th Avenue between W41st and W42nd Streets was still closed this evening. They said on Twitter: “We hoped to be able to reopen the hotel today, but due to the building’s proximity to the incident, it has been declared as part of an ongoing investigation and the authorities have concluded it cannot be occupied tonight.” They said that all bookings would be automatically canceled and refunded in full and that staff would be available to assist with rebooking or retrieving personal belongings. They said that they did not have a definitive date of when they will be able to reopen.
Mayor Eric Adams will hold a press conference at the site on Thursday morning. Drivers should avoid the area. The following roads are still closed — 10th Avenue between W38th and W42nd Street, W39th Street between Dyer and 11th Avenue, W40th Street at Lincoln Tunnel and Dyer Avenue along with W41st Street between 9th and 11th Avenue.