Workers Dismantle Listing Crane as Probe Begins

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    NEWSLETTERS

    AP
    A crane that had been resting against a building awaits disassembly after being lowered to the street in New York, Sunday, March 28, 2010. Mechanics and engineers on Sunday righted a crane that had been poised precariously after it tilted and hit a 25-story building near Wall Street on Saturday, showering debris to the ground, rerouting traffic and causing evacuations. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)

    Residents near a Financial District building that was hit by a crane returned to their homes Sunday, the day after the accident showered debris on the ground and forced them out.

    Mechanics and engineers lowered and dismantled the crane, which had hit a 25-story building near Wall Street on Saturday evening.

    Inspectors were on the scene to determine what caused the crane to tilt and smack the lower Manhattan building, Department of Buildings spokesman Tony Sclafani said.

    The crane had been brought to the area on Saturday to lift mechanical equipment to the roof of the building, Sclafani said. A representative of the company that owns the crane, Bay Crane, declined to comment.

    No injuries were reported Saturday after the crane hit a ledge near the top of the mixed-use building on Maiden Lane, three blocks from Wall Street, the Fire Department of New York said. Part of the building's facade broke off and fell into the street, police Lt. John Grimpel said.

    Maiden Lane runs east to west, parallel to Wall Street, from near the South Street Seaport to lower Broadway near the World Trade Center site.

    The crane was in a plaza about half a block from the struck building. The base of the crane was on the other side of the street from the building, and the crane was leaning diagonally across the street onto the building.

    A neighboring building's porter, Jose Hernandez, said he heard a crashing sound around 7 p.m. Saturday.

    "When the crane fell, it went 'Boom!' and rocks fell," he said.

    Area resident Michael Britto said he was leaving his building with a friend Saturday night when police told them to get out of the area because the crane was falling.

    "The crane was swaying," he said.

    New York has been blighted by crane accidents the last few years. On Tuesday, the city's former chief crane inspector admitted taking more than $10,000 in payoffs to fake inspection and crane operator licensing exam results over nearly a decade.

    The inspector, James Delayo, was arrested days after the second of two huge cranes collapsed, killing nine people, in 2008. The charges against him weren't tied to the collapses, but authorities portrayed the case as one in a series to go after builders and inspectors accused of shortchanging safety for profit.

    The Department of Buildings has said that it has increased training requirements for crane operators and inspectors and taken other safety steps since the collapses.