Plunging Iron Pan Narrowly Misses Millennium Tower Resident

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In another strange twist at San Francisco’s sinking and tilting Millennium Tower, a cast iron pan apparently used to prop open a problem window in an apartment, fell several stories and crashed onto the sidewalk below, narrowly missing a bystander. 

The incident occurred just after 1 p.m. on Monday on the Fremont Street side of the building at 301 Mission Street.  According to a briefing by tower management to residents, the frypan just missed hitting a resident who was outside on the sidewalk.

Back in February, an open window broke free in high winds, plunging 40 stories and crashing at the base of the building. No one was injured, but the tower was cited by  city Department of Building Inspection officials who ordered a probe into the failure. 

A Millennium spokesman, Doug Elmets, said Monday’s incident involved an unknown resident who propped one window open despite residents having been alerted to keep their windows closed amid predicted high winds on Monday.  

He called the incident “unfortunate” but “unintentional.”

A notice from building management to residents on Monday said it was a “life safety” requirement that residents not prop open their windows.

Elmets said Tuesday that the building management is in talks with city officials about the engineering firm’s report on the windows ordered after the February failure. 

Engineers have told city building officials they suspect the mechanism that is supposed to brace the window and keep it open is the problem, but their detailed findings have not been made public. 

In March, the building tried to order residents to disable their windows, but amid resistance they opted to continue to remind residents about the need to shut windows before high winds. 

Supervisor Aaron Peskin said the city was lucky the stay-at-home order kept most people inside in what would have otherwise been a bustling start of a work week. 

“The sidewalks would have been packed -- Somebody would have been killed,” he said, adding: “So this is one of the only good results of the shelter-in-place order – other than the coronavirus isn’t spreading.”

Supervisor Matt Haney, whose district includes the building, says it’s long past time for Millennium to get a handle on all of its problems.

“It really needs to be fixed from top to bottom,” Haney said, “and I really feel awful for the residents and people who live in that area who have to look up every time you walk by,  because you don’t know what might be falling down.”

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