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NYC Crane 45 Stories High Collapses in Flames - Only 6 Minor Injuries

By Jake Beardslee · July 26, 2023

In brief…

  • Fire broke out around 7:25am today in the engine compartment of a crane 45 stories up in NYC.
  • FDNY collapsed the crane's boom to extinguish the fire
  • Falling debris caused only minor injuries to four civilians and two firefighters.
  • 200 FDNY firefighters responded to the five-alarm emergency.
A crane fire 45 stories up in New York City prompted a massive NYFD response but only minor injuries.  Percival Kestreltail, CC BY-SA 3.0 , via Wikimedia Commons

NEW YORK - A fire broke out this morning on a construction crane 45-stories above street level as it partially crashed down on a nearby tower in Manhattan’s Hudson Yards. The wild incident injured six individuals as others fled the the scene in panic.

The fire started around 7:25 AM in the engine compartment of the crane, FDNY Deputy Commissioner Joseph Pfeifer told NBC News.

Pfeifer then added, “This is a good morning. This could have been a lot worse.”

Soon after arriving on the scene, the FDNY decided to collapse the boom and 16-ton load that the crane was lifting in order to extinguish the fire. Falling debris resulting in minor injuries to civilians and firefighters.

“We have four injuries to civilians and two to our firefighters. Minor injuries. One of our firefighters is having chest pains and being transported to the hospital,” Pfeifer reported.

Pfeifer said firefighters “Work[ed] together to evacuate the buildings,” adding that “Firefighters were in the surrounding buildings” evacuating people while other smoke-eaters “stretched hose lines to the top floors.”

Over 200 firefighters and EMS personnel responded to the 5-alarm fire. Pfeifer credited the quick actions of the crane operator with preventing more serious injuries.

“The crane operator was operating the crane at that point, and it was lifting 16 tons of concrete. That crane operator saw that the fire started and tried to extinguish it,” explained Pfeifer. “We give a lot of credit to the crane operator.”

Firefighters faced challenges accessing the fire and worked to evacuate nearby buildings as they doused the flames. Most of the fire was extinguished quickly, according to FDNY drone footage. The cause of the fire is still under investigation.