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6 hurt when crane arm catches fire, collapses onto NYC street during morning commute

Crane fire under control after partial collapse in Manhattan

Crane fire under control after partial collapse in Manhattan


NEW YORK — A crane went up in flames Wednesday morning high above Manhattan, then partially collapsed onto the street below.

The fire broke out shortly before 7:30 a.m. on top of a 50-story building that was under construction on 10th Avenue between West 41st and 42nd streets in Hell’s Kitchen.

Watch: Extended coverage of Chopper 2 overhead

Extended coverage: Crane arm catches fire, collapses in Manhattan


Mayor Eric Adams was on the scene to provide an update, along with the FDNY and Department of Buildings. First Deputy Commissioner Joseph W. Pfeifer told reporters “this could have been a lot worse.”

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“As our fire units responded to the scene, we had a collapse. The top part of the crane, the boom and a 16-ton load crashed to the ground,” he said. “At that point, we had injuries to civilians and firefighters, but they were minor.”

Six people were hurt, including two firefighters. All of the injuries were described as non-life-threatening.  

Watch: Mayor Adams, FDNY and DOB update

Mayor Adams, FDNY give update on Manhattan crane collapse


Pfeifer said the crane was lifting 16 tons of concrete when the fire started.

“That crane operator saw that the fire started and tried to extinguish it. So we give a lot of credit to the crane operator. But the fire overwhelmed that operator and had to exit the crane,” he said. “The crane operator was able to get out and is safe.”

Watch: Construction workers describe running for their lives

Construction workers run for their lives when crane arm collapses


He described what took place above the roofline.

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“Above the roofline, there’s a beam that goes out, and that’s carrying the weight of concrete. And that weight of 16 tons is attached by a cable. As the fire heats the cable, the cable weakens to a point where it loses its strength, and that’s when the collapse occurred,” he explained.

Social media video shows the dramatic scene when the crane arm came down, crashing into a building across the street. 

Adams said it’s “extremely lucky” the falling boom and 16 tons of concrete didn’t cause more damage.

“Not only the boom falling to the street but all of that concrete could have struck civilians, and this is spread out throughout the area,” he said. “So we were extremely, extremely lucky this morning.”

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Watch: Video shows moment crane came crashing down   

Dramatic video: Crane arm collapses amid fire above Manhattan


Nearby buildings have been evacuated, and others are urged to shut their windows. 

Drivers are also advised to avoid the area, where 10th Avenue is shut down between 34th and 42nd streets. The NYPD says 9th and 11th avenues remain open.

Watch the latest developments streaming live on CBS News New York in the player above and on our app.

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