Crane collapse at National Cathedral

Cars were damaged when the crane collapsed. (Photo courtesy National Cathedral)

(WJLA, AP) A crane collapse near the National Cathedral in Northwest Washington has damaged at least three cars in the area and the crane operator sustained minor injuries.

Witnesses say workers had to pull the crane operator free from the wreckage.

"I hear a big thump, it sounded like thunder, but I knew it wasn’t thunder," said witness Randy Hopkins.

The 500-ton crane collapsed at 3101 Wisconsin Ave. NW, according to D.C. Fire & EMS spokesperson Oscar Mendez.

Cathedral spokesman Richard Weinberg says that two buildings - Herb Cottage and Church House, sustained minor damage.

Two people who were inside doing inventory were not injured. However, the fallen crane opened holes in the roof, causing some water damage.

"If it had gone any other direction it would have hit another building and that would have been bad,” said D.C. Fire and EMS battalion chief John Donnelly “It glanced off the one building, it landed mostly in the parking lot, that’s a very lucky occurrence for everybody involved."

"We’ve had crane collapses before, I’ve never seen on this big, he said. “I think that’s pretty rare"

Herb Cottage houses the Cathedral's gift shop and Church House houses members of the diocese. Herb Cottage was closed and in the fenced after the earthquake.

Weinberg says the crane arrived this weekend to repair damage caused by the East Coast earthquake last month. The quake damaged the cathedral's limestone exterior towers and some interior areas.

{ }{ }{ } { }{ }{ } (Photo: Joshua Yospyn)

There is no word as to whether or not the accident would affect plans for a Sept. 11 memorial service that's planned for Sunday.

"The only thing I do remember is like a big thunder and my office like shaking," said Simon Bautista, who was in his office on the second floor of a building.

The crane crashed down right outside his window.

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