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Scary NYC Morning: 'This Could Have Been Much Worse'

Only minor injuries reported after crane's arm plummets to the street in Manhattan
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jul 26, 2023 9:20 AM CDT

A towering construction crane caught fire high above the west side of Manhattan on Wednesday morning, then lost its long arm, which smashed against a nearby building, dangled, and then plummeted to the street as people ran for their lives on the sidewalk below, the AP reports. Four people suffered minor injuries, but there were no fatalities, according to New York City Mayor Eric Adams. "As you can see from the debris on the street, this could have been much worse," the Democrat said, noting that the street at that hour of the morning is often filled with pedestrians, cars, and buses.

The fire atop the 54-story building—said to be vacant—was reported around 7:25am. Photos and videos posted on social media showed flames bursting from the car of a crane hundreds of feet above 10th Avenue at West 41st Street, near the Port Authority Bus Terminal and an entrance to the Lincoln Tunnel. The crane's arm, which was carrying a 16-ton load, snapped off after the fire had been burning for a period of time. The person operating the crane tried to put out the fire as it spread, but then had to flee to safety, according to FDNY First Deputy Commissioner Joseph Pfeifer. Firefighters stationed on the roof deck of another building used hoses to battle the blaze. Surrounding streets were closed to traffic. The fire's cause was being investigated.

(More fire stories.)

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