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Drivers face delays at Lincoln Tunnel as crews work to remove crane that caught fire in July over Hell's Kitchen

Crane removal causes major traffic delays near Lincoln Tunnel
Crane removal causes major traffic delays near Lincoln Tunnel 01:27

NEW YORK -- Drivers faced heavy delays Tuesday morning at the Lincoln Tunnel as crews work to remove the crane that caught fire back in July high above Hell's Kitchen

Workers are using a derrick to remove the damaged crane that partially collapsed onto another building across the street, injuring 12 people.

As CBS New York's Alice Gainer reported live at noon, police were directing traffic and had one lane of 41st Street closed between 10th and Ninth avenues.  

FDNY officials said the fire started while workers were lifting 16 tons of concrete on the 45th floor of a building under construction on 10th Avenue. The crane operator tried putting the fire himself, but couldn't. He escaped just before it collapsed.

When the crane toppled, it also took out a chunk of a high-rise apartment complex across the street, leaving broken pieces of metal strewn across 10h Ave.  

More than 200 first responders were already on their way to the fire. Some extinguished it from across six lanes of traffic, while others evacuated the surrounding buildings. 

Building inspectors told CBS New York they served a violation notice late last month to the general contractor, Monadnock Construction, because of the crane fire.

The city says it's still investigating the cause of the fire, but the violation notice blames a hydraulic leak.

Monadnock sent CBS New York a statement saying safety is a top priority and it is working with the city to safely dismantle the crane. 

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