Kingston crane dismantled 4 days after massive fire

A construction crane damaged in a massive fire on Tuesday in Kingston, Ont., was dismantled on Saturday allowing fire officials to further investigate the blaze.

Radio-Canada video journalist Frédéric Pepin documents take-down on Twitter

This photo shows the crane in the final stages of dismantling on Saturday, Dec. 21 in Kingston, Ont. (Frédéric Pepin/Radio-Canada)

Crews have completely dismantled a construction crane damaged in a massive fire earlier this week in Kingston, Ont., even though an ice storm continues to batter the area.

The province approved a plan to dismantle the crane where a worker was rescued in Tuesday’s fire at a residential housing complex under construction.

The Ministry of Labour gave the go-ahead for Dutch company Mammoet to bring four cranes to the site at 663 Princess St. Three cranes were used to stabilize the existing crane while a fourth crane was used to lower the sections of the damaged crane as it was disassembled.

The pieces were then loaded onto flatbed trucks parked on Victoria Street even though an ice storm knocked out power to tens of thousands of people and left roads looking like skating rinks.

Developer wants to rebuild structure

Patry Inc., the developer of the student-housing complex being built at 663 Princess St., said dismantling took less than 24 hours despite the icy conditions.

The company also said it wants to rebuild the structure, according to Radio-Canada video journalist Frédéric Pepin.

The fire damaged the steel crane to the point where a two-block evacuation zone had to be set up around the site, with people banned from getting back into homes and businesses.

Children skated on an ice-covered street in Kingston, Ont., on Saturday after the area was hit by an ice storm that missed Ottawa, which received only snow overnight. (Andrea Loken/Canadian Press)

Fire Chief Rhéaume​ Chaput has said his crews were waiting to get to work returning the area to normal.

“Once the crane has been dismantled and on the ground, we're going to be working diligently to assess the cause and origin as much as we can and we're opening up the street as quickly as we can,” Chaput said earlier this week.

“We are going to give access to the people affected by this, give them access to their homes, give them access to their businesses as quickly as possible,” he said.

Tenants of a long-term care home next to the construction site will be unable to return for months and are being put up at a nearby hotel for now.

The crane’s operator at the time, Adam Jastrezbski, is recovering from burns suffered after he scrambled to the tip of the crane’s boom and was rescued by a helicopter rescue crew from CFB Trenton.

Patry Inc. said construction contractor Stelmach PM is still working with the Ontario Fire Marshal's Office to determine the cause of the fire, but he wants to rebuild the structure.