Crane topples in downtown Sacramento, adding a surprise to 60-year-old civil engineer’s birthday party

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A massive construction crane toppled in downtown Sacramento on Aug. 14, adding some bonus excitement to a civil engineer’s nearby birthday party but fortunately not resulting in any serious damage or injuries.

The Bragg Crane Service crane was on its side for hours on Twelfth Street between K and L Streets as as construction crews executed the delicate process of righting the toppled vehicle as on-lookers took it all in, broadcaster KCRA-TV reported.

Civil engineer Rick Poeppelman was celebrating his 60th birthday on the patio of a restaurant across the street.

“It was almost the perfect thing to happen right next to my…birthday,” Poeppelman told the television station. “This kind of happened to be up my alley. I’m a civil engineer and I’ve dealt with cranes through my career.”

Poeppelman and his engineer friends at the party did not speculate on what caused the downtown Sacramento crane collapse, only saying these kinds of accidents sometimes do happen.

“A little bit unusual, but it’s kind of part of the crane business,” he said. (Poeppleman has been a civil engineer for 38 years.) “Crane work, especially with big cranes… it’s pretty technical. And usually, they’ll have civil engineers involved just with the loads they’re lifting, and how far they have to reach, and the outriggers.”

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