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Midtown Streets Shut Down Due To Falling Debris, DOB Says Crane Did Not Collapse

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- Falling debris shut down several streets in Midtown on Thursday evening.

It happened in the area of West 57th Street and Sixth Avenue at a new building construction site.

The FDNY received a report of debris falling from a building just after 6:40 p.m.

"We saw people running some places, all the directions," witness Mario Cruz said.

No injuries have been reported.

"We heard a huge crash, thought it was an explosion of some sort," restaurant manager Ghani Elmardi told CBS2's Ali Bauman.

Falling debris shut down several streets in Midtown on Oct. 29, 2020. (Credit: Citizen)

Elmardi was installing plastic around his outdoor dining table on Sixth Avenue when all of a sudden big slabs of metal came crashing down feet away from him.

"We got some of the dust from the broken glass, like, hit us on the back. That's why we turned around because with the crash and the debris kind of sweeping at your feet, we turned around and we saw the whole thing just laying down there," he said.

First responders quickly worked to close off the surrounding blocks and protect pedestrians from more falling debris.

"Luckily all the cars in traffic stopped right before it landed, but once it landed, it blocked traffic, and luckily nobody was hurt on this side," Elmardi said.

A crane above the scene was seen spinning, but the Department of Buildings said the crane was "weathervaning," which the city says is normal when not in use and allows the crane to sway, reducing wind resistance and increasing stability.

"It was scary to be honest because it was very, like, wobbly. Like, it looked like it was about to fall. At one point, it hung straight down," witness Michelle Natal said.

According to the FDNY, a loose cable hanging from the crane was spinning and hitting the building, causing the debris to come crashing down.

The FDNY says some additional debris was hanging precariously from the building and crews were working to secure it.

"If we were just a few feet on the other side, we probably would've been, you know, toast," Elmardi said.

Streets were closed from West 55th to 59th streets and from Madison to Eighth avenues.

The F train was bypassing 57th Street and M31 and M57 buses were being detoured.

Exactly eight years ago to the day, Hurricane Sandy toppled a crane over at a different building also on 57th Street.


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