Broward County

'Something fell across the house': Crane crashes onto two homes, injuring two

Lauderhill police, fire rescue and Sims Crane & Equipment on the 4300 block of NW 11 Street work to remove a collapsed crane from some houses.
Lauderhill police, fire rescue and Sims Crane & Equipment on the 4300 block of NW 11 Street work to remove a collapsed crane from some houses. Sun Sentinel

THURSDAY MORNING BOIL WATER ALERT UPDATE: Because a water main was struck, a precautionary boil water notice has been issued for an area bounded by Northwest 43rd Terrace from 11th Street to 12th Street; Northwest 46th Avenue from 11th Street to 12th Street; and Northwest 11th Street from 43rd Terrace to 46th Avenue. Tap water used for drinking, cooking, brushing teeth, washing dishes should first be subjected to one-minute rolling boil. When bacteriological tests determine the water is returned to normal, the notice will be lifted.

A crane toppled and fell on two homes, injuring two people, as a contractor for FPL was installing light poles in a Lauderhill neighborhood Wednesday afternoon, Lauderhill Fire Rescue said.

The crane, operated by Sims Crane and Equipment Co. in Medley, fell across two homes in the 4300 block of Northwest 11th Street just after 3:30 Wednesday. A Ford pickup was parked in the driveway of one of the homes, in an image released by fire rescue.

The crane operator and an occupant of the most damaged home were injured. The crane operator was treated for minor injuries at the scene and released. The person in the home was taken to a hospital, according to Lauderhill Fire Rescue.

A woman who lived in the home and who identified herself as Glennise said her 25-year-old nephew, Johncarry, was sitting on the back porch when "something fell across the house.''

She said her nephew injured his head and hand and was getting tested at the hospital. She said she thought the injuries were minor.

She said she has rented the home for five years.

"It's scary. It could have happened while we were in the home,'' referring to herself and her three children, ages 5, 7 and 14.

Lauderhill Assistant Fire Chief Jeff Levy said calls began to come in just after 3:30 p.m. reporting that a crane had collapsed on a house.

"When we arrived, we indeed found a big crane that was on top of one house and partial of another house," Levy said.

Crews later learned the contractor was replacing power poles in the backyard of homes in the neighborhood.

In addition to the crane falling, a water main broke, leaving the street flooded, Levy said. The block was closed to traffic and both the power and water supplies were shut off, he added.

The crane was resting on power lines, Levy said, adding that OSHA would be investigating.

Natalie Smith rushed home from work when she got a call that a crane had fallen on her home. Her 86-year-old mother was inside the home at the time.

Smith said she was "relieved that my mother was not injured" but she was "obviously upset." She said crews had been in the area for a week working.

"These days anything can happen," she said.

FPL released a statement: "We are aware of a serious incident that happened in Lauderhill earlier today. Unfortunately, a crane operated by a contractor tipped over onto two homes while installing power poles. We are unable to provide any further information on this incident, please contact Lauderhill Fire Rescue regarding their investigation."

On Friday, Dean Sims II, vice president of marketing for Sims Crane also released a statement: "Sims Crane & Equipment is committed to and a leader in safety in the crane industry. This was a rare incident and we are working with local authorities to determine its cause. At this time, our focus is on conducting a safe and careful clean-up of the site and each lift of the clean-up effort is being planned and approved by a professional engineer.

"As has been reported by many media outlets, the stability of the subsurface soil at the site is questionable, so we kindly ask that news crews maintain a safe distance to ensure that the clean-up goes as smoothly and safely as possible,” Sims added.

Miami Herald Staff Writer Madeleine Marr contributed to this report.

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