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NJ Crane Mishap Forces Evacuation

January 17, 2002

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JERSEY CITY, N.J. (AP) _ Hundreds of residents in a waterfront neighborhood were told they could be out of their homes for several more days while a giant construction crane tilting off the side of a nearby building is repaired.

An apparent electrical malfunction caused the 470-foot crane’s boom to extend too far Wednesday and it began to tilt, officials said.

The crane operator escaped without injury, but about 1,000 residents are being kept out of nearby apartment complexes as a precaution. The crane is attached to the side of a building which has 18 of 29 stories completed.

``This is going to be an extremely involved process,″ said Jerry Cala, the city’s emergency management coordinator.

He said a plan to use two other cranes to try to twist the damaged crane back into position was scrapped late Wednesday when the manufacturer of the tilting crane warned against it.

Instead, the crane will be secured to the frame of the building and another crane will be brought in to try and dismantle it. That could take four days to complete, authorities said.

The Red Cross planned to provide residents vouchers for overnight hotel stays.

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