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Safety of Broken Crane Causes Dispute

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

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One of three Miami cranes that snapped during Hurricane Irma has sparked a dispute between local government and the contractor that operators the crane, detailing whether or not the crane is actually safe until it can be secured.

Plaza Construction, the firm that operates the crane in question, provided the requested information on the crane’s security to the city, but building official Maurice Pons has deemed it unsatisfactory, adding that the voluntary evacuation for nearby residents should remain in place.

Crane Breakage

One of the results of Hurricane Irma’s onslaught was a broken crane in the Edgewater district, which left the piece of equipment hanging from atop a high-rise condominium, according to Bloomberg. The crane's precarious position has placed it above low-rise apartments underneath. Even though the crane remains standing, heavy counterweights did crash to the ground.

“It’s just hanging there, on this little string,” Mary Leitner, a local resident, told Bloomberg. “If they know a storm is coming, take them down.”

Leitner added that the crane had broken last Sunday (Sept. 10), and that local residents were hearing that it could take weeks before the crane was secured.

Jorge Mendez, spokesperson for Related Group, the developer of the property where the crane breakage occurred, told Bloomberg in an email that the crane at Gran Parasio was damaged due to high winds, but measures had been taken to secure it.

Initially, 36 hours after Irma hit, officials had asked residents in the two buildings adjacent to Gran Parasio to evacuate. Plaza Construction did offer to compensate “reasonable” hotel stays, but residents expressed anger at the fact that Plaza did not offer to help them move, and that not many hotel rooms were available after the evacuation rush.

Crane Security

Diana Gonzalez, spokesperson for the city of Miami, told the Miami Herald in an email that Pons had not yet received an acceptable letter or written statement from Plaza Construction on the safety of the crane.

“As a result, he suggests the voluntary evacuation remain in effect,” she noted. “The statement letter he received was forwarded to an assistant city attorney who concurred.”

According to the Miami Herald, the team from Plaza Construction met with local government officials on Sunday (Sept. 17) to resolve the issue.


Tagged categories: Construction; Cranes; Disasters; Good Technical Practice; Health and safety; North America

Comment from Jesse Melton, (9/19/2017, 10:12 AM)

You can't move something like that under the pressure of a coming storm and reduced access to equipment and resources. To do so would be criminally negligent. It's a bad situation already. There's nothing to be gained by making it worse.

Comment from Michael Halliwell, (9/19/2017, 11:32 AM)

I have to agree, secure it where it is and ride out the approaching hurricane. Cranes like this don't go up or down overnight in ideal conditions, little on after one hurricane and with a time crunch of another bearing down on you.

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