Falling scaffolding damages vehicle, breaks windows of Loop building

CHICAGO (Sun-Times Media Wire) - Hundreds of pounds of scaffolding equipment came crashing down onto a busy Loop street during the Tuesday afternoon rush, damaging a car and shutting down traffic near Millennium Park, the Chicago Sun-Times is reporting.

Emergency crews were called about 2:15 p.m. to the Crain Communications Building at 150 N. Michigan Ave., where a window-washing crew’s equipment came loose from an ornamental portion of the high-rise and went tumbling down just north of Randolph Street, according to Chicago Fire Dept. Special Operations Chief Tim Walsh.

The debris smashed eight windows on the building and damaged a car on Michigan, Walsh said. Chicago Police had said one person was injured by the debris, but Walsh said that case was unrelated.

The equipment that fell is called a davit—a piece of aluminum that secures scaffolding cable as the platform moves up or down. Crews worked into Tuesday evening trying to secure a 300-pound hunk of the fixture as it swung shakily from the edge of the building near the 10th floor.

“Until we do that, because the davit is just handing there precariously, it’s not secured anywhere, we want to make sure that no one walks through the area,” Walsh said.

Traffic on Michigan was shut down between Randolph and Lake, tying up traffic for blocks. Hundreds of pedestrians stopped to gawk outside police crime scene tape blocking off the normally bustling intersection.

A spokeswoman for Metra said the Randolph Street entrance to Millennium Station was briefly closed, but was open again for commuters ahead of rush hour.

Employees in the building were told to shelter in place 25 feet away from any windows while crews tried to grab the davit through an 11th floor window.

The city Buildings Department is investigating what led to the fall.

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