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Crane collapses at jail

A construction crane collapsed at the Kent County Correctional Facility last Friday, causing damage to water and electrical lines, and prompting the transfer of over 150 inmates to other facilities.

According to the Kent County Sheriff Department, the accident happened about 9 a.m. Friday, February 10. The facility has been undergoing a $27 million jail addition, and the crane fell into the new construction and the Sheriff’s fleet services garage next to the Sheriff’s Administration Building, while attempting to pick up a load. The 250-foot crane is used to move concrete over the main building for such tasks as pouring floors, brick laying, and moving large windows and frames.  At the time of the collapse, the crane was not loaded.

One construction worker was taken to the hospital for treatment for a minor injury and two inmate trustees were also taken to the hospital after suffering minor injuries when they ran from the building. They were hit with glass and other debris.

The old portion of the jail suffered damage to water and electrical lines, causing it to lose heat. This prompted the transfer inmates to other jails in the West Michigan area for staff and inmate safety and crowding purposes.

The damaged water and electrical lines cannot be repaired and heat restored until the crane is removed. The crane was still there at press time Wednesday, pending insurance inspections.

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