Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Finger Building Crane Hits Neighbor

Yes, it finally happened, we've been worried about living 6 feet from the crane and the fact that it comes within inches of our building every time it swings. The crane tipped into our building this morning between 7:30-8 am. Between the 2nd and 3rd floors, you can see 2 indents on the outside wall of 143 North 7th that were left by the 2 counterweights of the lower part of the crane. It was a frightening experiencing on the inside. Max was playing beside our defunct fireplace in the front room. We both heard this soft thud and a long, loud ripping sound and looked up immediately at the wall above the fireplace to see this crack appear above and below a painting.

Paul ran out to stop the construction and one of the hard hats told him "we almost lost the crane!" It seems the wind caught the crane and tipped it backwards, but our building helped keep the crane from falling. The new safety director immediately disappeared, he's no longer the jovial fat guy but a young man with a scruffy beard who clearly has little experience.

911 was called, the fire dept came by and stopped the crane, checked their permits, checked the outside and inside of the building. They deemed the building sound. They expressed concern that the crane was so close to the building but was told it was out of the fire dept's jurisdiction to stop the crane's operation. They said it was up to the DOB. A best squad inspector came and believe it or not, issued a violation and said the construction site could go back to work. That's it a lousy violation and they're not moving the crane. They're pouring cement on the 4th floor now.

We've contacted the Cranes and Derries inspector of the DOB because if wind can tip the crane into our building, then it's too close and they say they'll send out someone today. btw, the C&D inspector referred to our building as a 20-story one so I'm sure the announcements about keeping the Finger to 10 stories is all BS.

Still it was a horrible experience especially since where the crane hit the wall, Max was playing with his toys on the other side. We're feeling a bit shaken and rather vulnerable. Though we don't want to leave our home, we don't feel safe in it either.

Paul and Sandra Leussing

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