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New York City Crane Involved in Deadly Collapse Subject of Many Complaints

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Four people are dead and three others are missing following a crane collapse in New York City over the weekend,  Now, questions have been raised over the safety of the crane itself, as numerous people living in the area apparently complained to the city in the weeks before the New York City crane collapse.

The New York City crane collapse occurred on the east side of midtown Manhattan Saturday afternoon. The crane was being used in the construction of a 43-story luxury apartment building. The crane broke into pieces as it crashed down onto 51st street, not far from the United Nations Building. In addition to the destroyed townhouse, the New York City crane collapse seriously damaged five other buildings.

No one knows as yet what caused the New York City crane collapse, but people living in the neighborhood said that the safety of the crane had caused concerns for months. Bruce Silberblatt, a retired contractor and vice president of the Turtle Bay Neighborhood Association, told the Associated Press that he had filed a complaint just weeks before Saturday’s collapse. “I warned the Buildings Department on March 4 that it was not sufficiently braced against the building,” Silberblatt said.

Some other residents told the Associated Press they had complained to the city several times about the construction site. Crews worked illegal hours and the building was going up too fast, they said. City officials said they had issued 13 violations to the site in the past 27 months, a normal amount for a project of that size.

The city inspected the crane on Friday, but maintains it found nothing wrong. The crane apparently collapsed on Saturday while it was undergoing a process called “jumping” in which it was being lengthened with the addition of a new section.

An owner of Reliance Construction Corp, which operated the construction site, told the Associated Press that a piece of steel fell and sheared off one of the ties holding it to the building, causing the structure to detach and topple. He said the company had subcontracted the work to different companies and was not in charge of the crane. The crane was owned by New York Crane & Equipment Corp., which so far has had no comment.

Four workers were killed in the New York City crane collapse. They were identified as Wayne Bleidner, 51, of Pelham; Brad Cohen, 54, of Farmingdale; Anthony Mazza, 39; and Aaron Stephens, 45, of New York City, police said Sunday. Twenty-four others were injured, including 11 first responders. Eight people remained hospitalized, officials said.

Damage from the New York City crane collapse, which officials said ranked among New York City’s worst construction accidents, is expected to reach into the millions of dollars. At least a half-dozen buildings were evacuated, and rescue workers were using dogs, listening devices and thermal imaging to search the rubble for victims.

According to Mayor Michael Bloomberg, the missing included two workers at the construction site and a Florida woman who was visiting the city to take in the St. Patrick’s Day Parade. The Florida woman was staying with a friend who lived in the destroyed townhouse, and was in a second floor apartment when the crane collapsed.

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