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31 July 2017, 12:38
A 60ft crane which collapsed on to a former Primark store in Reading town centre has now been removed and the road reopened.
Engineers managed to stabilise it yesterday and then worked through the night to remove a damaged 30m section of the crane's jib.
Around 60 homes and businesses were evacuated when the crane toppled over in West Street on Saturday lunchtime.
It's thought the majority, if not all, of the affected residents have now been allowed to return to their homes.
Picture taken by 'Ivan Barefield/FR Pix'
In a statement issued this morning, Royal Berkshire Fire and Rescue Service said:
"Crews spent more than 13 hours working at the scene of a collapsed crane to ensure the safety of people in Reading.
"At 1.53pm on Saturday 29 July, Thames Valley Fire Control Service (TVFCS) received a report a crane had collapsed onto a building on West Street, Reading.
"Firefighters from Dee Road, Wokingham Road and Caversham Road fire stations were all sent to the scene, along with a number of officers, to help with rescue efforts and keep people safe."
"Station Manager Richie Hamilton, who was RBFRS’ Incident Commander, said: “Crews worked throughout the day so that we had extensive plans in case the situation got worse – it was particularly useful to have our Heavy Rescue Unit on hand because we relied on their expertise to inform us about the potential extent of the damage and how we could begin rescue efforts if needed.
“We had a number of hazards to think about so police had to put road closures and cordons in place so we worked incredibly closely with them, and with the local authority to look after residents who were evacuated.
“Our main concern was that the crane would fall backwards again and swing the other way because it was in a very precarious position.”
Crews identified where people could be in danger and worked with the police and Reading Council’s Emergency Planning officer to get people evacuated and to a place of safety.
It was quickly established that the incident was going to take some time to resolve so RBFRS’ Multi Role Vehicle (MRV) from Maidenhead Fire Station went to the scene and was integral to coordinating the various activities required throughout the duration of the incident.
Other concerns that firefighters had was whether there was any gas supply to the building the crane had landed on and whether it had been damaged so National Grid was also called to the scene.
Three other cranes from specialist firms were needed to remove the collapsed crane and put it into a more stable position – so firefighters had to wait on the scene until those specialists arrived and while they worked to ensure the safety of the scene.
RBFRS firefighters and officers were on the scene until about 3am to support the work.