24.03.2008

Arrest in New York crane accident

A New York City crane inspector has been arrested on charges of falsifying and inspection report for the crane that collapsed on March 15th killing seven and injuring 24.

It appears that a complaint was made to the New York Buildings department on March 4th by former contractor Bruce Silberblatt who reported that the crane was not sufficiently tied in to the building, having only one tie-in on what he estimated to be the fifth or sixth floor, (The crane was actually tied in at the third and ninth floor when it fell and a tie was being installed on the 18th floor when the collapse occurred).

Edward Marquette, 46, one of five Crane and Derrick division inspectors at the Department of Buildings, was supposed to have visited the site to check out the claim, he filed a report on March 6th stating that the crane was fine and met all relevant codes. In reality he never went near the job site.

A later inspection on March 14th, prior to the crane being climbed on the 15th, did take place and the three additional tower sections that were due to be added, were checked and the plans for the climb given the go ahead.

The buildings commissioner, Patricia J. Lancaster, has said that all the cranes examined by Marquette over the past six months will receive new inspections. She also said that the city’s Investigations Department, which looks into public corruption and fraud, would perform a full review of the operations of the Buildings Department’s cranes and derricks division.

“It is highly unlikely that a March 4 inspection would have prevented the horrific accident that happened on March 15,” said Lancaster “We are still looking at the probable cause being mechanical failure and or human failure during the jumping operations when the crane was raised. At this time, it appears that the crane was built according to approved plans.”

Marquette was arrested last Wednesday night and has been charged with falsifying business records, he was appointed as an inspector in October 2001.
See Tower crane kills 7
Also Update on March 17th
All 253 tower cranes in New York are now being re-inspected, however reports say that only two inspectors have been allocated to the job.

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