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Mechanic Treated After Sanitation Truck Left Dangling From Building Wall In Maspeth

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A salt spreader dangles from a Department of Sanitation depot in Queens on Aug. 17, 2011.  (credit: Mona Rivera/1010 WINS)

A salt spreader dangles from a Department of Sanitation depot in Queens on Aug. 17, 2011. (credit: Mona Rivera/1010 WINS)

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — The driver of a New York City Department of Sanitation truck is recovering following a frightening accident at a Queens depot.

Robert Legall was behind the wheel of a salt spreader when it crashed through the wall and windows of the depot’s second floor shortly after 9 a.m. Wednesday. The vehicle dangled precariously and showered a group of cars parked below on 53rd Avenue, just east of 58th Street, with debris.

More than six hours after the incident, cranes and several heavy-duty trucks successfully lifted and pulled the truck back into the building, 1010 WINS’ Mona Rivera reported. An investigation into how the accident happened is still ongoing.

Officials said Legall was pulling the salt spreader into a repair bay when the truck kept going and smashed through the wall.

Alexander Aponte was less than a block away when he heard a loud bang and turned and saw the truck.

“Red transmission fluid pouring out, gasoline pouring out. I saw a bunch of smoke, I ran over, saw what was going on. All bricks were laying on the cars outside. It was crazy and then I heard screaming and I looked up and the guy was still in the truck,” Aponte told CBS 2’s Mark Morgan.

1010 WINS’ Mona Rivera reports on the freak accident

A sanitation truck hangs from a building in Maspeth - Queens, NY - Aug 17, 2011 (credit: Rich Lamb / WCBS 880)

A sanitation truck hangs from a building in Maspeth - Queens, NY - Aug 17, 2011 (credit: Rich Lamb / WCBS 880)

Rocco DiRico, the deputy commissioner of the Department of Sanitation, said Legall’s co-workers tried to keep him calm.

“The men, obviously his peers jump in and ‘take it easy, don’t worry, the Fire Department’s coming. This is New York City. You’re gonna be fine.’ And they coached him for about five minutes until the Fire Department arrived,” DiRico said.

Firefighters used towers and buckets to rescue the 56-year-old mechanic and 10-year veteran of the department. Legall was transported to Elmhurst Hospital for treatment before being released.

Sanitation Commissioner John Doherty said Legalle was fine, but “shook up.”

Thankfully the only casualities were the four cars on the street below. CBS 2’s Hazel Sanchez reports one, a black Altima, was the brand new car of a sanitation worker’s girlfriend and her boyfriend borrowed it to bring to work Wednesday.

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