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Scaffolding hangs off Manhattan building as dangerous winds pummel NYC

Posted at 11:39 AM, Feb 25, 2019
and last updated 2019-02-25 22:40:35-05

MANHATTAN — Scaffolding hung off a Manhattan building, causing "an extremely dangerous" situation Monday, as winds up to 75 miles per hour downed trees and light signals across the northeast.

A high wind warning is in effect across the tri-state area through 6 p.m., according to the National Weather Service.

New York City could experience gusts up to 60 mph, according to the Department of Buildings, but the Associated Press reports there have been wind gusts of hurricane force — 74 mph — or higher elsewhere in New York.

Winds are the likely culprit behind a near scaffolding collapse in the Upper East Side, where portions of a building are hanging at East 72nd Street and Fifth Avenue.

“This is not a secure situation at this time," FDNY Manhattan Borough Commander Chief Roger Sakowich said around 10 a.m.

Scaffolding was reported to be hanging off the building at 8:15 a.m. Due to high winds, responders have not been able to access the roof and fully secure the situation, Sakowich said.

Officials used wires and ropes to try and hold the scaffolding in place, but the area has been blocked off to pedestrian and vehicle traffic, and residents of the building were moved away from windows in the scaffolding's path.

Sakowich estimated the scaffolding weighs about 2 tons.

“There’s a good chance it could fall. The way we have it secured is the best we can do at this moment,” Sakowich said. “We’ve been able to secure it as best as possible within the reasons of safety.”

So far, no one has been injured in the incident, according to Sakowich.

Elsewhere in NYC, trees and light signals have been downed, and flights have been delayed at several airports.

Sustained winds of 25 to 35 mph are forecast, with gusts of 55 to 65 mph in NYC. Winds should begin to calm after 6 p.m.

All builders, contractors, crane operators and property owners have been asked by the Department of Buildings to secure construction sites, buildings and equipment.

Property owners should:

  • Bring inside loose, lightweight objects such as lawn furniture, potted plants, garbage cans, garden tools and toys
  • Anchor objects that would be unsafe outside, such as gas grills or propane tanks
  • Close up and secure patio umbrellas
  • Secure retractable awnings
  • Remove aerial antennas and satellite television dishes

Builders, contractors, crane operators and property need to:

  • Tie down and secure material and loose debris at construction sites
  • Cover electrical equipment from exposure to the weather
  • Store loose tools, oil cans, and extra fuses in a tool box
  • Secure netting, scaffolding, and sidewalk sheds
  • Suspend crane operations and secure crane equipment when wind speeds reach 30 mph or greater
  • Suspend hoist operations and secure exterior hoists when wind speeds reach 35 mph or greater, unless manufacturer specifications state otherwise
  • Brace and secure construction fences
  • Call 911 if there is an emergency on a construction site