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'This could have been a whole lot worse' | 1,000 people displaced, Midtown streets still closed surrounding crane collapse site

Atlanta Mayor Andre Dickens and responding agencies held a press conference early Tuesday morning to give an update after a crane collapsed into a Midtown building.

ATLANTA — Three busy Midtown streets that surround a construction site where a crane collapsed on Monday remain closed Tuesday.

City leaders met this morning announcing that they don't have a clear time frame of when they will be able to neutralize the crane. 

"This could have been a whole lot worse," Atlanta Mayor Andre Dickens said the at Tuesday conference. 

At least one apartment building had to be evacuated in the collapse, which sent four people to the hospital. Those injuries were described as "minor."

Atlanta Fire Rescue Chief Rod Smith stated Tuesday that 1,000 people have been displaced. They also stated they are working with the American Red Cross to help the Midtown residents with temporary housing. 

Meanwhile, the following closures remain in effect:

  • 12th Street, from Spring St. to West Peachtree
  • Spring Street, from 10th to 12th Street
  • West Peachtree, all northbound lanes

It's unclear at this time how long the closures will need to remain in effect, but police said that the closures will remain in place "as long as necessary"

Atlanta Police officials are asking the public to avoid the area.

Authorities said that a counterweight became dislodged causing the crane to lose support. 

According to a press release, the other officials include Atlanta Fire Rescue Chief Rod Smith, Atlanta Police Chief Darin Schierbaum and Atlanta Department of Transportation Commissioner Solomon Caviness IV.

The map below shared by Georgia 511 outlines the closures:

How to get around road closures

According to 11Alive's Traffic Expert, Crash Clark, the best way around this is to use Peachtree Street. 

Some commuters use West Peachtree, which is a one-way street heading north for direct access to the Buford Spring Connector. Drivers can also use Peachtree Street northbound, and that will take them directly to the Buford Spring Connector, just after it merges with Spring Street.

More about the Midtown crane collapse

Capt. Michael Roman with the department said people noticed what appeared to be smoke and called to report a fire. Instead, when firefighters arrived, they noticed that a crane had collapsed, sending dust from the crumbling concrete into the air.

Roman said firefighters found four people with minor injuries, but at the time, seven employees were unaccounted for. All 11 people have been found.

The four people who were injured were all taken to Grady Hospital for treatment.

Infrastructure company Balfour Beatty said the crane malfunctioned, "resulting in the counterweights dislodging from the crane and falling to the parking deck below," the statement reads. "First responders arrived quickly to treat four injured workers who were subsequently taken to the hospital."

It's not yet known which floor the crane was on, but 11Alive learned that floors one through nine are the parking garage, while floors nine and up are soon-to-be apartments.

Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) officials have begun an investigation into the incident.

Because of the crane's instability, fire officials shut down operations at the construction site for safety. Roman said they are waiting for building engineers and crane operators before moving forward, and urged the public to avoid the area.

Evacuations in place

The state of the crane initially forced the evacuations of four buildings in a four-block radius of the collapse.

Monday evening, at least one evacuation remained in place for residents of the Tens on West apartments. Some residents said that they were notified they would need somewhere else to stay for the night, adding that they could be displaced for up to three days. 

11Alive reached out to The Red Cross and other officials to see efforts are being coordinated to help. A resident told 11Alive a shelter is being made available at The Central Park Recreational Center at 400 Merritt Ave in Atlanta. They also added the Homewood Suites in Midtown also blocked off some rooms for residents.

"We are grateful to the emergency personnel who responded promptly to assess the situation and secure the area," Balfour Beatty's statement said. "The construction site has been closed and the surrounding area has been cordoned off until the safety of the area has been confirmed. We are working closely with local authorities and a thorough investigation into the cause of the incident is underway.” 

Images show damage to the top levels of the building under construction, with at least one part of the façade crumbled.

Roman said the crane is attached to the structure, which he said is common.

OSHA was also called to investigate.


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