Crane clear-up complex as hero Glen prevents fire tragedy

Lucky escape ... crane operator Glen.
Lucky escape ... crane operator Glen.
The crane jib collapsed onto the UTS building.

The crane jib collapsed onto the UTS building.

The crane on fire.

The crane on fire.

A crane that caught fire and toppled on a building site at University of Technology Sydney will be removed in a complex operation requiring several other cranes and major road closures.

A spokesman from WorkCover, which is leading the investigation into Tuesday morning's crane collapse, said inspectors, emergency services, building representatives and union officials have met to discuss its removal.

They are in the early stages of planning a complex engineering operation to remove the damaged crane at the site on Broadway and Wattle street, Ultimo.

The spokesman said it was too early to know how long the damaged crane will remain at the site, managed by Lend Lease, and when the operation would begin.

On Wednesday morning emergency services will take down damaged signage on the Wattle Street side of the building which was crushed by the crane's jib, the spokesman said.

"WorkCover is satisfied that there is no further risk of debris or the crane falling from the building," he said in a statement.

The crane operator, a man named Glen, has been hailed a hero for ensuring the crane didn't fall near bustling Broadway.

Glen appeared shaken when he told Channel Ten: "The fire just began ... just started.

"I got down. I tried to extinguish it, but it needed more than an extinguisher."

It's believed Glen, who is employed by Lend Lease, swung the arm of the crane around so it fell on scaffolding, away from the busy road below.

CFMEU state secretary Brian Parker said it was lucky no one was injured or killed.

"If this crane was pointed out on the street ... and it caught fire there could have been hundreds of innocent bystanders killed here today," he told reporters on Tuesday.

"That jib could have collapsed onto the road. It could have been motorists, it could have been pedestrians ... It's just by chance that it wasn't facing that way when it's caught fire."

It is understood the crane is owned by a Sefton company, Marr Contracting. It was then leased to Lend Lease, which employed the driver.

On Wednesday morning Wattle Street remained closed between Broadway and Thomas street.

"There is no definitive forecast as to when the road will be fully reopened due to safety concerns," the Transport Management Centre said.

The slip lane from Broadway is open, so eastbound motorists can turn onto Wattle Street, but there is no access for westbound motorists.

Drivers are urged to be cautious, expect delays and allow extra travel time.

Mr Parker said workers had complained three weeks ago about the crane leaking oil, which was dripping onto their hard hats and clothes. The union asked Lend Lease to investigate the problem.

Lend Lease released a short statement confirming that a full investigation was being undertaken.

"We are working closely with relevant authorities and unions to evaluate the incident."

It said the UTS site was regularly audited to ensure on-site safety.

This story Crane clear-up complex as hero Glen prevents fire tragedy first appeared on The Sydney Morning Herald.