2000-pound slab threatening to fall from San Francisco building prompts evacuations

What was first reported as an unstable 2,200-pound concrete slab at risk of falling 35 stories onto downtown streets was downgraded Wednesday evening to a "strut failure" that fire officials said no longer poses a risk to the public. People and construction workers were being evacuated in the South of Market neighborhood shortly before 3 p.m. local time, fire officials said.

The buildings around the construction site were evacuated and several streets have been closed to traffic, causing a massive traffic jam during rush hour. Officials say they successfully shored up the formwork and secured the crane atop the South of Market building but evacuations remain Wednesday night.

Get free real-time news alerts from the San Francisco Patch. The building is being developed by Hines and Invesco Real Estate.

According to tweets from the scene, a crane carrying a 2,000-lb concrete slab 30 stories in the air has failed, prompting the evacuation.

"If the crane falls, it could take the concrete wall down", said Lt. Jonathan Baxter, according to SFGate. Fire officials said there are no injuries to civilians or fire department staff. A construction engineer is being brought in to help. "The building itself is not damaged or compromised in any way shape or form", said San Francisco Fire Chief Tom Siragusa".

"If it does fall, the worst case scenario is we're going to have some structural damage to the buildings below".

  • Salvatore Jensen