San Francisco News

Cherry picker falls into sinkhole in downtown SF

Tuesday, March 01, 2011

An unusual accident in San Francisco is being investigated. It resulted in downtown street closures during the Tuesday morning commute. It involved a window washer in a cherry picker and a sidewalk that collapsed under the crane's weight.

A cherry picker caved into a small sinkhole at about 2:14 a.m. on Sutter Street in front of a Banana Republic store. The accident temporarily shut down Sutter between Grant Avenue and Kearny Street. It took two tow trucks to pull the cherry picker out of the sidewalk. The operator was not injured, and called police for assistance. The crane was sitting on a thin portion of the sidewalk in between two beams.

"You can see that the sidewalk is pretty thin right there and there is some rebar type construction underneath that is pretty corroded," said Mindy Talmadge of the San Francisco Fire Department.

"The sidewalk has a basement underneath it. The roof of the basement is not designed to carry a 25,000 pound fork lift. The fork lift should have been parked on the street rather than on the sidewalk. As you can see this is a relatively old building," said city engineer Fuad S. Sweiss.

The city said the window washing company should have had a permit and should have put the forklift on the road. The city also said the property owner will be responsible for repairing the hole in the sidewalk.

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