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Crane falls, knocks out power in Delray Beach

Posted at 10:40 AM, Jun 06, 2017
and last updated 2017-06-06 18:54:45-04

The heavy rain is likely the cause a crane collapse at a Delray Beach construction site.

The crane narrowly missed Tri-Rail train tracks and I-95 when it collapsed around 10 a.m. on Monday morning on the 4300 block on S. Congress Avenue.

The crane pulled down power lines and a transformer with it, knocking out power to hundreds of workers in an office building next door.

Chad Zankin, who runs a telecommunications business in that building, saw the incident unfold before his eyes as he worked at his corner office desk.

“Sitting at my computer which was facing this way so I was looking at the whole thing the whole time, which was scary," he said. “It literally crashed down right there which was pretty wild."

Witnesses reported seeing a large crane base partially sunken into the wet ground and leaning over before the incident occurred.

“The crane had already previously fallen, probably from the storms last night, so I guess they tried to move it," said Zankin.

He watched with horror when workers tried to move the 200-foot crane. It buckled and crashed to the ground, sending around 40 workers scrambling for cover, Zankin recalled.

“It hit the power lines across the rail road tracks and everybody started running this way," he said.

Crews worked in the pouring rain to pull the crane apart and away from the power lines. No one was hurt and no major damage done but neighboring businesses are bracing to lose thousands of dollars in revenue after sending hundreds of workers home.

“Obviously a significant revenue loss. We have a huge center here that’s down, employees can’t work. They need money to pay their bills," said Zankin.

We spoke with Zankin's telecommunications employees in their dark offices before they left for the day.

"Appointments for callbacks, those deals are worth thousands of dollars," said Sonia Carballoso, who works for Interface Technologies.

While FPL was able to restore power several hours later, businesses hope they can recoup the losses.

"People have bills to pay. Many of our employees unfortunately live paycheck to paycheck," said Carballoso. "A very unfortunate turn of events has turned into a huge loss for not only employees but the companies as well."

An employee in the office building was even trapped in an elevator during the power outage.

One of the guys here was stuck, but he got out safe and was fine," said Zankin.

Construction company Kaufman Lynn is trying to build a storage facility at the site.

A representative with Stewart Crane, the crane operators, said they've been in business for 13 years and have never had anything like this happen.

None of the construction workers at the scene would speak to us on camera.