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Brooklyn Building Collapse: Questions Surfacing About Safety of the Construction Project

The Brooklyn lawyers at Block O'Toole & Murphy continue to follow a very serious construction accident - - a building collapse - - that took place in the Brownsville section of Brooklyn yesterday.

1916 Prospect Place in Brooklyn was a 3 story building that was under demolition. The vacant building reportedly collapsed at 1pm on Wednesday afternoon, seriously injuring eight people. The helpless victims of the building collapse were rushed to a local hospital where they remain. Their conditions are said to be serious but not life threatening. First and foremost, our thoughts and prayers are with the victims and their families.

The collapse occurred as construction workers were working on the third floor of what has been described as a 'decrepit building.' They fell from the third floor crashing all the way down to the first floor. According to the New York Daily News, residents in the area actually warned that the structure was unsafe. Emanuel Kerns, 49, a neighbor, claims he said prior to work starting that they should "be careful because the building is unstable." If a building's foundation is not strong, performing demolition work will often lead to a structural collapse. If the locals were aware of this condition, it logically follows that a thorough examination of the building prior to the work should have revealed the safety concerns as well.

Another eyewitness who saw the workers after the collapse being treated near the rubble described a bloody scene with bodies splashed across the ground. These eight men went to work, hoping to bring home a hard-earned days pay. Instead, they now lay in a hospital wondering what tomorrow brings.

How can workers be sent in to a project like this? There are serious questions that remain outstanding.

· Did an architect approve of the work?

· Was there a general contractor on site that was entrusted with making sure safety protocols were followed?

· Were the appropriate permits obtained through the Department of Buildings?

· Who was responsible for evaluating the structural stability of the building?

What is quite clear is that 8 workers were sent into a very dangerous work site and given a job that could have killed them. What is also obvious is that this terrifying experience would have been front page news had it taken place on Manhattan's 6th Avenue as opposed to Brownsville. Instead it appears in a remote section of the Daily News and on small local blogs. "This is the kind of accident that gets buried deep in the tabloids or not covered at all by the press," comments noted trial lawyer Jeffrey A. Block. "This accident shows the import of maintaining strong worker safety laws. Nobody cared about these workers at all when they were sent into that building. The employers here showed a complete disregard for the well-being of these workers."

This one bears watching and, as always, we will continue to keep you posted as the investigation unfolds.

Block O'Toole & Murphy is a law firm that is committed to fighting for New York construction workers. These experienced trial lawyers have a track record of successfully battling for the underdog, including more than $700,000,000 in verdicts and settlements on behalf of their clients. To learn more about this firm, see the firm website at For a free consultation, call them at 212.736.5300.

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