Danger of crane collapsing after fire in Kingston

QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 12:05 PM ET

KINGSTON, Ont. — Fire is still smouldering in Kingston, Ont., but the biggest concern is whether a construction crane at the centre of a dramatic rescue Tuesday will collapse, the fire chief said Wednesday morning.

Kingston fire Chief Rheaume Chaput told a press conference that the crane was heavily damaged in Tuesday's fire and the fire department hopes it can control when, where and how the crane collapses.

"The biggest concern is that the crane will come down without a controlled environment," Chaput said. "If we had heavy winds it could collapse."

The fire department has set up a collapse zone to try and reduce the danger.

Its questionable stability also means firefighters can't get as close to the fire scene as they would like, Kingston Mayor Mark Gerretsen said.

Chaput told media the crane operator, who was rescued during the blaze by Canadian Armed Forced personnel, was in stable condition in hospital.

The man who had scrambled to the edge of his crane to await rescue by military helicopter had reportedly suffered burns to his buttocks and hands.

Several areas surrounding the fire are still evacuated.

Chaput said seniors living at the Royal Canadian Legion Villa across the street won't be returning for some time because the fire spread into the building.