Crane that toppled over in Manhattan owned by company with close South Kearny ties

The crane as it was engulfed by flames on Wednesday, July 26. Screenshot | Skyler J. Whitehead (Skyler Fire) on Youtube

The crane that collapsed and toppled to the ground at a construction site on 10th Avenue near West 40th Street in Midtown Manhattan Wednesday, July 26, is owned by a New York City company that is also owned by a crane company based in South Kearny, The Observer has learned.

The one that collapsed nearly 50 stories to the ground was owned and operated by New York Crane & Equipment Company, based in Queens. Reports indicated that company was led by James Lomma, who died four years ago.

Lomma reportedly also owned and operated Lomma Crane & Rigging, at 49 Third St., South Kearny, with two other locations — in Pittsburgh and Pineville, North Carolina.

FDNY First Assistant Commissioner Joseph Pfeiffer, who on Sept. 11, 2001, was the first battalion chief on scene at the North Tower of the World Trade Center terror attacks, spoke at a news conference on the scene after the incident and after remarks from New York City Mayor Eric Adams. (The Observer’s trusty old friend Skyler Whitehead was at the scene, standing two people away from Pfeiffer and provided incredible coverage of the incident and Pfeiffer’s remarks.)

“This incident could have been a lot worse,” Pfeiffer said of the fire and crane collapse. “At 7:25 this morning, we got a report of a fire in the engine compartment of the crane — we’re talking about the engine compartment of a crane above the roof line about 45 stories up. As our fire units responded to the scene, we had a collapse … where a 16-ton load collapsed to the ground.

The collapsed portion of the crane.

“At that point, we had injuries to civilians, firefighters, but they were minor. (Initially), there were four injuries to civilians and two to firefighters. One of our firefighters was having chest pains and was transported to the hospital.”

The FDNY later told The New York Daily News a total of nine civilians and three firefighters were injured. The News also reported the the fire may have started by a “hydraulic leak from the engine compartment onto a heated metal plate.”

Pfeiffer, meanwhile, said the FDNY worked quickly and in unison to evacuate the buildings in the immediate area to prevent further injuries.


A map of the South Kearny Lomma location. Click to enlarge image. Apple Maps

What we know about Lomma Crane & Rigging

The South Kearny company was founded in 1968 according to available business records. The company offered its own description of what it does on a daily basis and the kind of equipment it operates.

“Lomma Crane & Rigging is the premier provider of tower cranes, crawler cranes, Manitowoc, Link-Belt, Liebherr, Favco tower cranes, heavy transportation and rigging in the Northeast,” the company wrote on its website. … “With a large fleet of cranes, Lomma continues to grow to meet with the demands of the ever-changing construction industry. We strive to provide the highest quality of service to ensure we exceed our customer’s expectations.

“With one of the largest rental fleets in the country, JF Lomma Inc. can provide you with the right equipment or services to help get the job done successfully.”

One of the South Kearny-based cranes.

Lomma Crane also reportedly operated cranes when the new 1 World Trade Center was built in Lower Manhattan and has had cranes used in projects at the Pulaski Skyway in our neck of the woods and John F. Kennedy International Airport in Queens. One was used remove the Space Shuttle Enterprise, which was flown to JFK Airport atop a NASA Boeing 747 in 2012, when it was decommissioned.

Attempts to contact the Kearny- and Queens-based Lomma crane operations were unsuccessful.

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Kevin A. Canessa Jr. is the editor of and broadcaster at The Observer, a place where he has served on and off since 2006. He is responsible for the editorial content of the newspaper and website, the production of the e-Newspaper, writing several stories per week (including the weekly editorial), conducting live broadcasts on Facebook Live, including a weekly recap of the news — and much more behind the scenes. Between 2006 and 2008, he introduced the newspaper to its first-ever blog — which included podcasts, audio and video. Originally from Jersey City, Kevin lived in Kearny until 2004, lived in Port St. Lucie. Florida, for four years until February 2016 and in March of that year, he moved back to West Hudson to return to The Observer full time. Click Here to send Kevin an email.