50-ton crane slams into Santa Rosa home


Few sights in life are as stirring as the silhouette of a crane against the sky, especially when it is holding up the wrong end of a second crane next to a house newly divided.

"I thought maybe I should have stayed in bed yesterday, but then I thought, probably not a good idea," says Santa Rosa homeowner.Michelle McCarthy.

So consider the plight of Michelle and her husband, Kevin, who were not at home when the crane they hired to help remove a large oak tree from their yard tipped over from the weight and took their house instead.

Neighbors described the accident as being slow at first. The crane seemed to then hit a point and then fell causing a big boom, shaking the ground like an earthquake. They also said there was a man in the tree only four feet away from the swinging boom. Another neighbor said it was a sight she cannot forget as it has replayed in her mind throughout the day.

They say it took maybe eight seconds for 120 feet of boom, from a 100,000-pound rig owned by Reliable Crane and Rigging, to crash through the roof, onto the deck, into the backyard, sparing only the Halloween pumpkin.

"No, we're not going to go back in there for a long time," says Michelle.

The extrication part took most of the day and attracted a crowd. Out back, crews removed the boom's tip, changing the balance. Then, slowly, an inch at a time, they pushed and pulled the rig out of the house and lowered the truck onto the street.

What goes up, eventually comes down, but no one sees the poetry in it.

"After this, I will never tell my boys they made a big mess with their toys ever again," says Michelle.

The crane is gone but the gash in the roof remains. The McCarthys just moved into the house three months ago, looking forward to Thanksgiving and the holidays in the house. They now know they won't be in it for a while. The insurance adjusters are on the way.

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