MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Several residents of a North Miami Beach condo were evacuated after a construction crane crashed into the side of the building.

The crane is attached to a barge which started taking on water around 10:30 p.m. Sunday. As the barge tipped to the side, the craned crashed into the building at 3750 NE 170th Street.

“I go out. I say, ‘What happened?’ And then I hear a lot of people crying and calling 911,” said witness Rolando Checo.

Antonio Abreu also heard the collision but in the dark could see what had caused it.

“Massive, I thought it was a plane crash,” he said. “I saw big pieces falling out of the roof.”

Miami-Dade Fire Rescue evacuated eight units in the section of the building near where it had struck the roof. No one was hurt.

The Coast Guard, which was called in to contain fuel leaking from the barge, will also try to determine what caused it to take on water.

“We’re still investigating what actually caused the barge to take on water but right now the priority is containing the actual diesel that’s discharged from the crane,” said Lt. Lia Carter.

A boom was placed in the water near the barge and five barrels of oily waste and debris were collected.

An outside contractor was brought in to begin the hours-long process of safely removing the crane from the building.

“Our effort now is to release the building from the stress it has and make that everything is safe,” said Shoreline Foundation safety manager Efrain D’ Aleccio. “We are planning to remove the boom of the crane which is the part right now that is invading of the building. We are concerned with that and obviously we are going to bring in other equipment to help us get the crane out.”

Neighbors say the crane and barge were being used to repair a sea wall and that’s what caused it to take on water and tip. The Coast Guard said there was no active construction Sunday night when the crane came down.

Comments