A crane attempting to move a refrigeration unit from a downtown building tipped over Monday and knocked down power lines at approximately 8:30 a.m., leaving many businesses in the dark and without phone service.
Garrett Anderson, city of Branson economic developer, said the power was turned off between Main, Sycamore, Commercial and Atlantic streets as a result.
Eddie McManus, owner of the Main Street Deli, said he was near the crane as it began to fall.
“They were trying to pick up the (refrigeration) unit,” McManus said. “Once he brought it around, it swung the weight of it and the crane fell over on the lines and then I took off running.”
The crane was attempting to move a seven-ton refrigeration unit from the Mr. Ice Man plant, Branson Fire Department Fire Chief Ted Martin said.
Martin said the crane operator believes the crane tipped because it was sitting on a soft spot.
“(Empire Electric) crews did a spectacular job isolating that outage to one city block,” Martin said. “Branson Crane brought one more crane out and called two large semi tow trucks and they got the crane stabilized.”
Martin said it was a dangerous situation because the crane was partially suspended in the air and balancing on the refrigeration unit and power lines.
The roads were blocked, stopping any traffic from coming into the area, and McManus said people were told to keep their distance because chemicals were leaking from one of the refrigeration units.
“There was a real small leak of ammonia,” Martin said. “We used the Branson alert phone system and called the one-block area and asked people to stay indoors or just avoid the area. The (Mr. Ice Man) owner was able to detect where the small leak was and we were able to turn that valve off.”
The Branson phone alert system was then used a second time to inform the public that everything was clear.
There were no injuries in the incident and the crane operator was able to exit the vehicle before the crane boom hit the power lines.
“Thankfully, what could have been catastrophic was minimal in impact,” Martin said.
Power was out for approximately five-and-a-half hours and was turned back on at about 2:30 p.m., Martin said. There is no damage assessment at this point in time.