AKRON, Ohio - A holiday tradition in Akron hit another snag on Wednesday. It was more like a snap and boom. For the 2nd day in a row, a tree selected as the city's live Christmas tree, toppled over as crews prepared to move it to Lock 3 in downtown Akron.
This time, a city worker was injured while jumping from a toppling city-owned crane.The worker, who was not identified, was treated at St. Thomas Hospital for a shattered heel.
On Tuesday, the city's first choice, a more than 30-foot pine, split as crews tried to hoist the tree, which was donated by United Baptist Church.
"Clearly, luck has not been on our side this week," Deputy Mayor Dave Lieberth said.
The Wednesday accident happened in front of a group home on Stull Avenue. The group home had also donated the tree, a 70-foot blue spruce, to the city. It came crashing down, along with the crane, and startled residents Wednesday morning.
Jacob Schramm watched the whole thing from his bay window. "It was a big, loud boom, like a collision," Schramm said. "It was a really big noise. You could tell it was a crash, but we didn't know what kind it was," said Heather Shaull, who was startled out of sleep by the accident.
The city of Akron is trying to figure out how the accident happened. Fire investigators said there could have been a problem with the crane's stabilizers. "One of the outriggers failed and the crane itself toppled over with the tree," said Akron Fire Captain Michael Scott.
"I don't know if it's the wetness of the dirt that makes the crane a little bit unstable or if there was a malfunction with the crane," Lieberth said.
Lieberth said the city is currently searching for a third Christmas tree and several donation offers are being considered. "It wouldn't be Christmas in Akron without a real tree in downtown," Lieberth said.