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Probe into fiery crane collapse on St Kilda Road

The construction crane on fire at 557 St Kilda Road. Photo: Simon SchluterThe company that owned a crane that collapsed on St Kilda Road this week also owned a crane that fell from a building site on Southbank last year.
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Construction company Hickory Group confirmed it had leased the crane, which caught fire and collapsed on The Parque apartments site on Tuesday, from General Cranes.

Fire authorities and WorkSafe officers were on site investigating the collapse. The MFB confirmed an electrical short circuit at the battery terminal was the cause.

This is not the first collapse for General Cranes. In August 2015, a crane it had leased to Crema Constructions fell into a lift shaft at a construction site on Southbank near the Burnley Tunnel.

Two workers were injured and the crane driver was left in shock. At the time, MFB Commander George Arnold said the crane was 50 metres above the ground, being jacked up to a higher position when one of the hydraulic rams – a type of automatic pump – failed.

He said it was “remarkable” that only two people had been injured in the dramatic accident.

WorkSafe also launched an investigation into this incident.

The Age has contacted General Cranes for comment. Their website describes them as a “leading crane ‘lifting solutions’ company” with offices in Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane and Australia-wide reach.

The Parque site in Prahran was secured and deemed safe on Wednesday morning. During the fire 16 fire trucks were on the scene and 12 people were evacuated.

MFB officers used an aerial appliance to douse the fire with water from above and used imaging cameras to detect any lingering hot spots.

Hickory Group spokeswoman Nadia Salajic said nobody had been injured.

“Fortunately the crane operator was not in the crane when the fire broke out,” she said.

“The majority of workers had left earlier in the day due to the high weather temperatures and the few remaining workers were safely evacuated.”

Ms Salajic said the company had worked extensively with General Cranes in the past.

“Our main priority is that it’s all safe and there are no ongoing risks,” she said.

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