Two construction workers were injured and hundreds of residents and retailers were without water, gas or electricity for hours yesterday after a construction crane plunged through a street level deck covering a Metro Green Line excavation site at U Street NW, between 12th and 13th streets, authorities said.
The crane operator, Jose Freeland, 25, and another worker, Steve Allen, 35, were taken to Howard University Hospital where they were treated for minor injuries and released, hospital and Metro officials said.
Freeland was moving the crane across a wooden deck about 11:30 a.m. when one of the support beams gave way underneath the platform. The crane fell about 10 feet, leaving the top of the cab visible above ground and the bottom of the vehicle hanging over a 12-foot deep excavation, John F. McElhenny, Metro assistant general manager, said. Metro officials said they did not know when the crane would be removed.
The crane, capable of lifting up to 100 tons, severed a gas line, electrical lines and a water line, D.C. Fire Capt. Ted Holmes said.
Fire officials ordered businesses and homes on the block evacuated for more than three hours while crews worked first to turn off electricity and then repair the gas line.
Potomac Electric Power Co. spokeswoman Nancy Moses said that the accident cut power to about 400 customers in the vicinity. Power was restored to most customers within an hour, but commercial customers on the block were expected to be without power into the night.
Washington Gas Light Co. spokeswoman Kate Magill said the gas line break had affected service only on the one-block stretch of U Street where the accident occurred.
Water was cut off to customers along U Street, between 11th and 14th streets, said a spokeswoman for the D.C. Department of Public Works.
Police closed off the area, diverting traffic from U and 13th streets. One vehicle, a pickup truck parked at the curb where the accident took place, was damaged.