Crane Accidents

40-Ton Crane Burns After Contacting Power Line


Sauk City, Wisconsin

A 40-ton crane was severely damaged Dec. 3 after it hooked a 7,200-volt power line and caught fire at United Cooperative’s grain facility west of Sauk City.

40-Ton Crane Burns After Contacting Power LineSauk City interim fire chief Doug Breunig said the crane operator was moving the machine when the crane’s ball swung and hooked on the power line.

Breunig said the crane operator recognized the danger and immediately leapt from the cabin. No one was injured in the incident, he said.

“It was pretty spectacular for a while,” Breunig said. “It was arcing and sparking.”

Crews from Marquette Grain Systems, based in Byron, Minn., were working to remove old grain bins and a conveyor from the grain facility when the accident occurred, United Cooperative public relations manager Dori Lichty said.

The facility, located off Highway 60 about 3 miles west of Sauk City in the town of Prairie du Sac, recently underwent a major expansion and the crane was being used to demolish several older bins.

The tires and machinery of the crane caught fire as a result of the current from the power line, Breunig said.

“We were called out at 7:41 because a crane was hooked to a power line,” he said. “On the way, we learned the crane caught fire.”

Breunig said firefighters had to wait until Alliant Energy arrived at the scene to shut off the power before fighting the blaze.

“Once they got here, we were able to put it out,” he said.

Alliant Energy spokesperson Scott Reigstad said an outage related to the incident impacted only two or three energy customers for a brief period of time while the crane was removed from the line.

Lichty said power was restored at United Cooperative after about 2 hours.

A representative from Marquette Grain Systems declined to comment on the incident.

Category: Accident Report

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