Vehicles, adjoining building damaged during earthquake cleanup

A 500-foot crane performing cleanup work at the National Cathedral fell over Wednesday, damaging at least one building and several vehicles near the Cathedral.

© Shawn Thew / EPAA construction crane being used to make earthquake-damage repairs lies overturned Wednesday at the National Cathedral in Washington D.C.
Reports came in of the collapse around 11 a.m., WRC reported.

Richard Weinberg, a spokesperson for the Cathedral, told News4 the crane, positioned on the south side of the church, crashed into an adjoining building. The building, called the Herb House, had a portion of its roof ripped off.

Fire officials said the Cathedral's main structure was not damaged.

The operator of the crane was inside the cab at the base when the accident happened. Authorities said immediately before it flipped, the crane's arm, extended approximately 550 feet, had just deposited material on the Cathedral roof. While rotating, the equipment's balance upset, and the crane came crashing down into an area between the roadway and the church itself.

The crane's operator was reportedly shaken, but able to walk away from the crash. He was being evaluated by paramedics. No other injuries were reported.

The crashed crane came down very close to the pathway used by students at National Cathedral School, who were in their first day of class Wednesday.

© Carolyn Kaster / APPart of a 500-foot construction crane lies next to the Washington National Cathedral on Wednesday after falling amid thunderstorms, damaging two buildings and several vehicles.
Early this week the giant crane removed debris from the around the cathedral's upper surfaces. Crews worked to clear broken stone from the Cathedral's upper faces so that scaffolding could be erected for the repair effort.

The August 23 5.8-magnitude earthquake rattled the Cathedral, breaking limestone ornamentation from the spires.

During the cleanup effort, the Cathedral has been closed to the public. Plans were in place to open the Cathedral this weekend for September 11 memorial services.