Crane Accidents

Crane Collapses on Ch. 56 Roof, Knocking Station Off Air

08/4/98

Boston, Massachusetts

A construction accident involving a crane and the broadcasting tower it was lifting has damaged portions of the Channel 56 television station and briefly knocked that station off the air.

Crane Crashes onto TV Station in BostonThe collapse has also led to some last-minute cooperation between Boston-area television stations.

After the large crane collapsed onto the roof of WLVI-TV, producers were fearful they wouldn’t be able to air their 10 p.m. newscast.

But executives from WCVB-TV (channel 5) offered space in their Needham studios so the newscast could go on.

“Everyone has been really wonderful, [there’s a] really great sense of community,” said WLVI spokeswoman Kristen Holgerson.

An another Boston-area television station, WHDH-TV, also offered to lend aerial footage of the crane collapse, Holgerson said.

According to an eyewitness account, a crane was lifting a new broadcast tower onto a cement base when the tower began to fall.

“The force of the tower falling then pulled the crane over,” said Catherine E.C. Henn, vice president/legal affairs for the Boston Globe, which is located next door to Channel 56 on Morrissey Blvd.

Henn and her colleagues watched the accident from a third-floor window in a Boston Globe office.

Henn said that the crane, which was attempting to install the tower vertically onto a cement base, had lifted its cargo to about seventy degrees before the accident occured.

“All of the sudden, the tower started falling and the crane followed,” Henn said.

Fire department spokesman Ron Caron says the only reported injury was to the operator of the crane. He was treated on the scene after being removed from the overturned crane.

The accident ruptured water and gas lines, knocking the station off the air for two hours and making it impossible to use the studio.

The station was evacuated and news broadcasters set up shop in trailers in the station’s parking lot on Morrissey Boulevard, Holgerson said.

WLVI-TV officials said they hoped to return to their building by Thursday. The station employs about 150 employees.

Henn said that steel cables attached between the crane and the broadcast tower had punctured the hole in the building’s roof. She also said that the crane operator walked out of the cab on his own, and that he did not board an ambulance that arrived on the scene.

“He was shaken, but appeared okay,” Henn said.

Photograph Comments: A Boston firefighter spreads material to contain oil and gasoline spilling from the crane that toppled onto a building on Morrissey Blvd Tuesday morning.

Category: Accident Report

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