Worker killed in NYC building collapse identified

1 Nov 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Construction worker dead after eight-story Midtown building partially collapses, second worker was trapped and rescued.

First responders worked feverishly to save a construction worker buried by five floors of falling debris in a massive Midtown building collapse Friday morning that killed a co-worker.

Photo: James MesserschmidtOne person was killed and another seriously injured when a ceiling collapsed Friday in a building under renovation at West 38th Street, sources said. Police, firefighters and EMTs teamed to save the young man’s life after a torturous three-hour struggle as chunks of building materials dangled precariously over their heads. “It was a team effort down there,” said NYPD Emergency Service Unit Sgt. Battalion Chief Downey and other officials described a harrowing rescue of the injured man, who was taken to Bellevue Hospital Center in serious but stable condition.

It was a feeling of elation.” The 20-year-old victim was one of 19 non-union workers demolishing the eight-story tenement for a ritzy W. 38th St. hotel when the lower five stories collapsed in a V-shaped pattern, officials said. An engineer involved in the project had ordered on Thursday that demolition work on the narrow, five-story building be stopped until the structure could be better secured, officials said. The unidentified man, buried from the waist down at the point of the V, was pinned beneath thousands of pounds of debris after he was knocked from the first floor into the basement.

The two top floors collapsed and people are still trapped. “The ceiling caved in on the two top floors,” said the man, who did not want to give his name. “Every injured person is still in there. It was unclear if the work being done on Friday before the building’s second and third floors caved in was part of an effort to shore up the structure or part of the demolition, officials said. Contacted by telephone, a representative of the property owner developing the hotel, the Fortuna Realty Group, declined to comment, saying the company was still gathering information.

Joseph Maldonado, a security guard who works across the street, said he was alerted to the collapse when he heard police and firefighters running toward the scene. I noticed three people in construction uniforms running down the block very fast … and I saw some dust flying.” “Tragedies like these have become all too common as irresponsible developers and contractors increasingly put their bottom lines ahead of the safety of workers,” said LaBarbera, president of the Building and Construction Trades Council of Greater New York. Neither man’s name was immediately released. “All the floors and all the debris basically came down in a V, and he was right where the V was,” Capt. In May, the company announced plans for a 180-room, 27-story hotel, the Aloft New York Midtown, in partnership with Starwood Hotels & Resorts HOT 1.26 % Worldwide.

A lawyer for Northeast Interiors insisted the workers were not in the middle of demolition work when the building came down. “It was an unexplainable accident,” said attorney Joseph DiBenedetto. “They were simply cleaning up, sweeping up. Dominick Bertucci, a firefighter who assisted in rescuing the man, said at the news conference. “For the void that he was in and the amount of debris, he was very lucky.” Lt. He was clearly in pain as workers removed the debris covering him inch by inch, Lieutenant Negron said, growing less lucid as time passed but still able to squeeze the medics’ hands. Rick Chandler, commissioner of the New York City Buildings Department, said the agency had issued a violation in connection with the project in August when inspectors found excessive debris at the site. Hours after the collapse, a view from above and behind the building revealed a gaping hole in the top floor that stretched from the back wall to an interior shaft and across the entire width of the structure.

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