Part of a large wind turbine rocked by gusty winds collapsed and crushed a billboard and a car in New York City on Dec. 30.
The accident took place less than two weeks after the newly-installed Baychester turbine first started providing power to nearby buildings, according to the Bronx Times.
Before it fell, at around 1:45 p.m., the structure’s blades were reportedly spinning out of control. A blade from the top of the wind turbine fell onto an illuminated billboard, then fell onto a parking lot near a TD bank, a Sherwin Williams paint store, a Drugbox Pharmacy, and a 7-Eleven store, ABC 7 reported.
A car was also crushed by a turbine blade when it fell.
No injuries were reported, Mayor Bill de Blasio told the news outlet, adding that an investigation into the cause of the incident is now underway.
An Apple Bank employee working nearby told the New York Post she was “concerned if it’s going to fall on our parking lot or the branch itself.”
The Department of Buildings is on the ground working with first responders on site — thankfully we can report that there are NO injuries and everyone is safe and sound.
An investigation into how this incident happened is underway. https://t.co/mVUjS6p9Yx
— Mayor Bill de Blasio (@NYCMayor) December 30, 2019
The incident was met with criticism from a number of local politicians during a press conference, the New York Post reported.
Sen. Jamaal Bailey suggested the turbine was “hastily” erected. “A wind turbine should not be able to be taken down by the wind,” he told reporters.
Meanwhile, State Assemblyman Mike Benedetto said the structure was put up quickly “in order to try and make a buck.”
He urged the city Department of Buildings to ensure “something like this doesn’t happen again.”
A spokesperson for the department told The Hill it had conducted a preliminary inspection of the wind turbine, which found its partial collapse was caused by the structure becoming “unstable.”
The commercial property owner of the turbine—Baychester Retail III LLC—has been issued violations by the department for failing to maintain structure, the spokesperson added. It also issued an emergency order for the owner to hire an engineer to dispose of the fallen sign.
Bailey added in a statement: “The events that occurred on 500 Baychester Ave. in Co-op City are a reminder that we can not allow any type of building structure be put up so hastily, and that the Department of Buildings needs to properly inspect these structures prior to it’s assembly.”
“We are lucky that there were no injuries from the collapse of the wind turbine and the only damage, while unfortunate, was property damage. We are even luckier that this was not a day where school was in session, as there are multiple schools on Baychester Avenue and the injuries could have been devastating.”