Atlanta crane collapse displaces residents of 1,000 apartments

Views of the scene of a partial crane collapse in Midtown Atlanta are shown Monday, May 22, 2023. (Natrice Miller/Atlanta Journal-Constitution via AP)

ATLANTA (AP) — Residents of about 1,000 apartments in Atlanta's Midtown neighborhood could not return to their homes Tuesday, a day after a crane partially collapsed at a nearby construction site.

One of the crane's counterweights became dislodged and fell, causing damage to the crane Monday afternoon, Atlanta fire chief Rod Smith said during a news conference Tuesday. Police have said four people were injured. Fire and rescue crews are at the site to help secure and disassemble the crane.

Once it no longer poses any danger, people will be allowed to return to their homes, Smith said. He did not elaborate on how long that might take.

It wasn't immediately clear where the temporarily displaced residents were staying. Smith said his department was in communication with the American Red Cross to help them.

Katie Zwerk, a spokesperson for the American Red Cross of Georgia, confirmed that the organization was in touch with officials and opened a shelter for the displaced residents Monday evening. But she said no one spent the night there, so the shelter was closed Tuesday. She said any affected residents who need assistance can contact the organization.

Mayor Andre Dickens said he was glad that only four people were hurt and that they suffered non-life-threatening injuries. He said the city would work with the state and the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration to investigate what happened.

In the meantime, there are some street closures in the area and city officials urged people to avoid the area or take the MARTA train system instead.

Midtown Atlanta is a bustling commercial and residential district with lots of high-rise apartments and office buildings under construction.

Dickens noted that people who live and work in the area have been through a lot lately. Just three weeks ago, a man shot five people, killing one, at a medical office about a block from the site of the partial crane collapse.