A good deed turned sour Wednesday when a 20-ton crane fell only 20 feet from a Richland child care center and tossed an 80-foot boom onto Jadwin Avenue.
George A. Grant, a Richland construction company, had volunteered to use the crane to move a 600-pound jungle gym from the Learning Landscape to Christ the King School on Long Avenue about two miles away.
But now the company is facing considerable bills for cleaning up after the incident, said Dick Richter, president of George A. Grant.
“It became a very expensive playground,” Richter said.
William Fulwyler, driver of the crane, was moving the jungle gym just before 10 a.m. from a fenced-in area at the Learning Landscape building when the crane fell over.
The outriggers, used to brace the crane, were not properly extended and the crane became unstable, said Dan Downs, a battalion chief with the Richland fire department.
The boom and playground equipment tipped into the street and the body of crane fell 20 feet from the preschool classroom, he said.
Fulwyler broke his wrist in the accident but no other injuries were reported. He is not being disciplined for the incident, Richter said.
“It was pretty embarrassing for him,” he said.
The incident closed Jadwin Avenue from Swift to Williams boulevards from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Wednesday.
Officials say it’s fortunate the boom didn’t strike the child care center, where a class for 3- to 5-year-olds was in session. About 25 children are in that part of the center each day, said Shannon Ortiz, the Department of Energy liaison for the Learning Landscape.
The playground equipment, which is valued at several hundred dollars, was destroyed in the incident, Richter said.
George A. Grant will also have to pick up the bill for bringing a crane in to move the one that had tipped over. The work took roughly 212 hours.
The Neil F. Lampson crane needed to complete the job costs an estimated $150 an hour to rent. It could cost $300 for just driving the crane to and from the site, Richter said. The four workers on scene could each run a tab of $45 to $50 an hour.
Besides the roughly $900 the crane and crew were likely to cost, there could also be bills from the city for police, fire and environmental workers, said Brad Griffiths, a Richland traffic officer.
“It could get to be quite an expensive endeavor,” Griffiths said. “I wouldn’t even dare guess on the dollars and cents involved.”
Griffiths said it’s unlikely George A. Grant would be ticketed for the incident.
Category: Accident Report