Crane collapse at Kent County Jail (Feb. 10, 2012)
Kent Co. Jail crane collapse. ephoto from Mike Powers
Photo from Kaley Plank
Kent County Jail crane collapse scene.
(UPDATE 6:00 P.M. SATURDAY)-The Kent County Undersheriff says investigators are not sure now if a cable snapped on the crane that collapsed onto the jail.
The accident forced authorities to move about 170 inmates out of the county Friday night. The undersheriff says the accident damaged water and electrical lines to the oldest part of the jail. Friday evening, crews were still waiting for a part to restore heat to the jail, so the department moved about 500 inmates to nearby jails or different cells.
The Undersheriff says utility crews hope to fix the lines this weekend, but they are in no rush.
"We're not going to do anything in any hurry. [It's about] safety again; going slow, making sure we continue to monitor the situation as we go," said Undersheriff Jon Hess. "As you turn the heat back on, the water heat, it will take a couple days for us to fill the lines, bleed the lines, make sure all the heaters work, [and] make sure all the systems work, so it's not going to be a quick return [for the inmates.]"
Investigators now say the 250 foot crane was picking up a load when the rig came crashing down on the jail. Three people suffered minor injuries.
GRAND RAPIDS (WZZM) -- Undersheriff Jon Hess says it appears a cable broke, causing a construction crane to collapse into the Kent County Jail Friday morning.
Hess said he was inside the Sheriff's Department facility at the time of the collapse. He was in a meeting learning about Facebook.
"All the sudden the power went out, then there was a large crash," Hess said. "We all looked at each other and knew immediately it was the crane."
A 250-foot crane collapsed around 9 a.m. Friday at the construction site at the jail complex just off Fuller Avenue and I-196.
The accident caused significant damage to a nearby building. Three people were transported to the hospital, including two jail trustees who suffered minor injuries after being hit by flying glass and debris as they ran from the building.
When the building lost power, Undersheriff Hess says they quickly secured the jail and the inmates inside.
Andy Borgusch was working near the construction area when the crane collapsed.
"It came down fast and made a lot of noise," said Borgusch. "It was kind of confusing for a bit, everyone running around making sure everyone's okay."
Owen-Ames-Kimball is the construction management company supervising the project. The company issued a statement saying, "We have accounted for all of the people on site at the Kent County Correctional Facility this morning and it appears there are no serious injuries. Three minor injuries have been officially reported. We are currently investigating the cause of the crane accident and have no further information at this time."
The jail has been undergoing $27 million dollars in renovations since May 2010. Authorities say the collapse happened at a portion of the jail built in the 1950s.