"One of the best decisions I had ever made"
- Joseph Lugo
Sunday morning was filled with turmoil when a huge air conditioning unit being carried by a crane broke free and fell 28 stories in Midtown.
When officers responded to the scene at 261 Madison Ave., a high-rise building between East 38th and East 39th, they noticed the crane’s payload going to the building’s roof had broken free, according to CBS New York.
There were ten people injured, including two construction workers, the others were pedestrians and people inside vehicles who were all struck by falling debris. The air conditioner fell on the rear of a moving car causing the driver to crash into a fire hydrant. Thankfully, their injuries were not life threatening.
The air conditioning unit, weighing about 30,000 pounds hit the building three times, damaging the building’s exterior and created a large gaping hole at the top of the building. The impact was so intense that windows in a neighboring building were shattered.
Large pieces of concrete, steel and glass covered the streets. People were worried when they heard all the commotion. Many told reporters they thought it was anything from a building explosion, a freight train derailment to a terror attack. Isaac Walker, a concierge at the nearby Andaz Hotel said “I heard a lot of helicopters, there was a police cruiser that came down here just speeding with the lights on, I heard fire ambulances; I mean at least five minutes of this.”
“We have no complaints at all about this device,” said NYC Buildings Department Commissioner Rick Chandler. “We think this device, in this very preliminary stage, is in good shape.”
It’s not clear why the load fell, but Mayor Bill de Blasio stated there would be a full investigation into this incident.