Boom lift sinks into sidewalk at Sutter and Grant streets, temporarily closes intersection 

A giant boom lift collapsed a weak section of sidewalk in downtown San Francisco on Tuesday morning, causing a huge gash in the concrete and a shutdown of a bustling block.

The 25,000-pound lift was being used to wash windows at the building housing the Banana Republic store at Grant and Sutter streets. The back tire of the lift sank into the ground shortly after 3 a.m., Fire Department spokeswoman Lt. Mindy Talmadge said.

The accident damaged a sprinkler line feeding into the building setting off an alarm that alerted the Fire Department, Talmadge said.

The hole the lift created went through a weak section of concrete between two beams over a sidewalk basement, San Francisco city engineer Faud Sweiss said.

The accident shut down Sutter Street between Grant and Kearny streets for several hours. A giant tow truck began pulling the lift from the ground around 8:45 a.m. Sweiss said that aside from the hole in the ground there was “no further collapse or any damage to the street or The City.”

Hydraulic fluid, possibly from the sunken lift, apparently leaked into the building's basement, Talmadge said. It did not appear to be a large amount, she said.

No injuries were reported, police said. The lift operator "was able to get out of the vehicle safely," Talmadge said.

The city engineer said the private contractor should not have rolled the lift onto the sidewalk considering its weight.

The San Francisco Department of Public Works will determine who is at fault, Talmadge said. The intersection reopened to traffic around 10 a.m.


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