Video shows glass falling from SF skyscraper after window broken due to intense wind gusts

J.R. Stone Image
Wednesday, March 15, 2023
Video shows glass falling from SF high-rise after window broken
Video shows broken window glass falling from San Francisco high-rise on 555 California Street during Tuesday's intense wind gusts.

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- A glass window was seen falling from a building Tuesday as wind gusts intensified in the Financial District of San Francisco.

The glass window that broke fell from the 555 California Street building, formerly the Bank of America Center.

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"I did see someone crossing the crosswalk and it probably hit ahead of where they were going, so they got pretty lucky," said Bernardino Ortiz who recorded video of glass falling from the skyscraper just before 2 p.m. Tuesday.

In the moments before that glass fell, he recorded some of the windows at 555 California Street actually shaking due to the windy conditions. A short time later a separate glass window fell from above.

In the video Ortiz can be heard yelling, "Oh my God! It's cracking, more is falling. Watch out! watch out! Backup, backup!" as additional pieces of glass fell outside of his window.

Firefighters say one window completely broke on the 43rd floor, while another cracked. Those inside 555 California say it was windy.

"I think it was the windiest I've ever seen it," said Nadia Almusleh who was sheltering in place.

"The building was shaking a little bit," said Yasmine Hajjaji.

"I'm on 41 and it was windy, windows were creaking," said Vera Rodkewich.

"Maybe you'll hear the windows crackling a little bit making a noise, but it was constant all day today," said another woman inside working.

"I guess the best way to describe it would be an office outside of the airport. You could definitely hear the rattling, it sounded like a jet was taking off," said Almusleh.

Firefighters told us it was so windy when they arrived on scene, they had to tightly secure their helmets so they wouldn't blow off.

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No one was hurt, but emergency crews blocked off all nearby streets in case more glass fell.

Investigators believe the winds were to blame but it's unclear if a draft blew out the window or an actual item hit it.

"There is no way to tell if a rock or article hit the window but we have heard reports of people seeing things flying through San Francisco," said Capt. Jonathan Baxter of the San Francisco Fire Department.

"A lot of our windows on the outside were also getting hit with debris, random rocks, it was rattling so yeah, it was really scary," said Almusleh.

Firefighters say the window broke out in an empty office area that was under renovation.

As for work on Wednesday, 555 California Street will be open. The surrounding streets that had been closed are now open too.

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