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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
08-02
March 18, 2008

NYC OFFICE OF EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT (OEM) PROVIDES UPDATE ON CITY’S RESPONSE TO EAST SIDE CRANE COLLAPSE

Two lanes of traffic have been reopened on 2nd Avenue, a third lane is open when construction activity permits

Five vacated properties can now be reoccupied

Water service restored to East 50th Street

The New York City Office of Emergency Management continues to coordinate the City’s response to the crane collapse on Manhattan’s East Side. OEM, along with the Department of Buildings (DOB), Fire Department (FDNY), Police Department (NYPD), Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD), Department of Small Business Services (SBS), and Mayor’s Community Affairs Unit (CAU) are all operating on scene. Those City agencies are also working closely with the United States Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), New York State Insurance Department, American Red Cross in Greater New York, Salvation Army and ConEdison. Since the collapse, agencies have been working around the clock remove debris and allow evacuated residents to reenter their homes.

The Building Department has lifted vacate orders for 5 of the 18 buildings vacated after the accident. Tenants are being allowed to return to the following addresses:

  • 314 East 51st Street. This is a 5-story residential building with 5 dwelling units.
  • 318 East 51st Street. This is a 3-story residential building with 1 dwelling unit.
  • 320 East 51st Street. This is a 2-story residential building with 1 dwelling unit.
  • 322 East 51st Street. This is a 3-story residential building with 2 dwelling units.
  • 324 East 51st Street. This is a 1-story residential building with 2 dwelling units.

DOB expects to lift vacate orders later today on these addresses:

  • 310 East 51st Street. This is a 5-story residential building with 5 dwelling units.
  • 312 East 51st Street. This is a 5-story residential building with 5 dwelling units.

The Buildings Department will lift the 4 remaining vacate orders for the buildings that did not sustain damage in the collapse as soon as it is safe to do so.

Last night, DEP restored water service to East 50th Street between 1st and 2nd Avenues. Local residents are advised that their water may be discolored for a short time after service is re-established.  This is normal and is the result of water settling while the main was not in operation.  To resolve this condition, residents should let their water run.

Remedial operations to secure the area affected by the accident continue. These efforts have three primary areas of focus:

  • Buildings engineers and inspectors have been supervising the safe removal of the crane cab from the collapse site at 305 East 50th Street. This work is ongoing.
  • Buildings engineers and inspectors have been supervising the safe removal of three steel beams that provided support to the tower crane before it collapsed. These steel beams are located on Floors 3, 9, and 18 at the construction site at 303 East 51st Street. This work is ongoing.
  • Buildings engineers and inspectors have been supervising the safe removal of a piece of the tower support that speared the roof building at 306 East 50th Street and passed through the shared wall with 308 East 50th Street. Both of these buildings remain vacated due to the structural damage sustained during the accident. This work is ongoing.

The Buildings Department continues to work with the Police Department to recover and secure the parts needed for the forensic investigation into the accident.  Once these parts are recovered and secured, they are being sent to a testing laboratory off-site for analysis.

Buildings forensic engineers have confirmed at least 7 buildings sustained damage during the accident. As the remaining parts of the collapsed crane are removed from the collapse site at 305 East 50th Street, the focus will turn to working with the respective owners to repair and secure buildings that sustained damage. The addresses of the buildings that sustained damage are:

  • 300 East 51st Street / 956 2nd Avenue. This is a 19-story mixed use building with 119 dwelling units and commercial use at the street level. The crane’s mast was resting on the top floors of this building.  A small portion of the 13th and 14th (top floors) at the north east corner of the building have collapsed where the crane mast came in contact with the building.
  • 301 East 50th Street / 944 2nd Avenue.  This is a 6-story residential building with 20 dwelling units and commercial use at the street level. Portions of the roof and top two floors have collapsed due to the crane mast hitting this building.
  • 305 East 50th Street. This was a 4-story mixed-use building with 4 dwelling units and commercial use at the street level. This building has completely collapsed.  
  • 306 East 50th Street. This is a 3-story mixed-use building with 3 dwelling units. A steel beam from the crane penetrated this building and caused damage to the middle of the building.
  • 308 East 50th Street. This is a 5-story residential building with 3 dwelling units. The same steel beam that damaged 306 East 50th Street from the crane penetrated this building and caused damage to the side the building.
  • 311 East 50th Street. This is a 14-story residential building with 111 dwelling units. There are some small holes in the western foundation wall which is adjacent to 305 East 50th Street which are allowing water to seep into basement. At this time, Buildings inspectors have not noted any structural damage to this building.
  • 954 2nd Avenue.  This is a 4-story mixed-use building with 6 residential units and commercial space at the street level.  This rear of this building sustained damaged.

SBS’ Business Outreach Team has been on scene since Saturday to advise small businesses on insurance benefits and facilitate access to their establishments. Businesses that need assistance should call 311 and ask for the Business Outreach Team.

Street closures remain necessary to accommodate recovery operations, debris removal and utility work. The City has reduced closures as safety permits. The two westernmost lanes of traffic have been reopened on 2nd Avenue and a third lane is open when construction activity permits. Streets that remain closed include:

  • East 50th and 51st Streets between 1st and 2nd Avenues
  • East 51st Street between 2nd and 3rd Avenues is subject to partial closure to facilitate utility work

OEM, CAU, New York Disaster Interfaith Services (NYDIS) and the American Red Cross in Greater New York set up a Family Assistance Center immediately after the collapse. Evacuated residents can visit the center to register with the Red Cross, receive temporary shelter and speak with DOB and NYPD Community Affairs personnel. The center is located to Saint Peter’s Church at 619 Lexington Avenue. Hours of operation are from 9:00am to 9:00pm. To date, 176 residents have visited at the center. Yesterday, the City convened a meeting with neighborhood residents to update them on progress and provide information on available services.

The City of New York will remain on scene until recovery operations are completed. Up-to-date information on road closures, towed vehicles and the status of vacated residential units will continue to be made available through both 311 and www.nyc.gov.

CONTACT: Andrew Troisi / Chris Gilbride (OEM)   (718) 422-4888