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Cracked Window Latest Problem At SF's Sinking Millennium Tower

SAN FRANCISCO (KPIX) - San Francisco's sinking skyscraper has a new problem. Now, one of the Millennium Tower's windows on the 36th floor has cracked.

According to the city's Department of Building Inspection spokesman Bill Strawn, the crack appeared over the Labor Day weekend. When inspectors tried to get into the high-rise to take a closer look Tuesday, they were not able to get in and see the window.

Strawn says the city has issued a correction notice, giving the building engineers 72 hours to provide a report to the city explaining what happened.

"When that window at the 36th floor cracked, it was heard throughout the building on a number of floors," said SF Supervisor Aaron Peskin.

Warning tape went up blocking off the sidewalk under the window and an investigation was started by both the city and the Millinneum Homeowners' Association, which is in litigation with the builders of the tilting tower.

"This is the most congested part of downtown, across the street from the Sales Force Tower," said Peskin. "There are hundreds if not thousands of people there all day long."

So far it appears to be safe.

"It's contained in a bed of silicone, so it is all holding together, very tightly and very safely," said Tom Miller, the attorney for Millinneum Tower homeowners. "So we don't have a concern of it falling."

The preliminary inspection by the city Wednesday found there is little danger of falling glass. Still, Peskin said he was worried.

"It's a source of great concern to me as city official," said Peskin.

Supervisor Peskin has been holding hearings about the Millennium Tower since it became clear that the 58-story building has major structural problems. The skyscraper has sunk about a foot and a half into the ground, so far. It is tilting more than a foot.

One of his concerns is that the cracked window may be a warning of bigger problems ahead.

"It may have to do with stresses caused by the building sinking and tilting," said Peskin. "I don't want in an earthquake for glass to be knee deep all around that building."

As to whether the broken window is related to the sinking or "settling" as the engineers call it, is not clear because inspectors have not been allowed in to see the broken glass up close.

Peskin says it is still a danger to the public.

"These window systems are designed to withstand hurricanes," he said. "And if it cracks and falls on the ground, people could be injured, if not killed."

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