The victim was part of a construction crew that had dug below the foundation of the building at the site to make a wooden support form to shore up the building’s facade. According to reports, the accident occurred when the victim was inside the wooden structure and, as he tried to get out of it, unstable soil gave way around him, with dirt falling on him and burying him up to his neck, causing him to become stuck inside a hole. Emergency responders rushed the victim to Lenox Hill Hospital in critical condition where he later died from his injuries. The Medical Examiner will determine the cause of death.
Our thoughts and prayers go out to those who loved the victim.
A police investigation into the accident is ongoing. The New York City Department of Buildings (“DOB”), which issues permits for construction, is also at the site investigating. According to the DOB website, a stop work order was temporarily put in place at the site due to “unsafe” conditions reported by the FDNY. The stop work order complaint reads “soil collapse has occurred, causing worker fatality.”
The construction site developers have not commented on the fatal accident, but their attorney, Marty McLaughlin of Connelly McLaughlin & Woloz, said “It’s certainly a tragedy and the police and the fire department are investigating what happened.”
According to DOB records, a handful of DOB violations previously issued against the property owners, William Gottlieb Real Estate, remain oustanding. The most recent involves a $5,000.00 penalty imposed for a violation from 2011 for failing to maintain the building walls -cracked missing concrete above first story exposing rusted steel and rebar cracks and eroded mortar joints on the exterior walls of the building.
This is the second construction-related death in the area in less than a month. A West Village resident, Tram-Thuy Nguyen, was killed a few weeks ago on West 12th Street, when strong gusts of wind ripped a piece of plywood off the construction site around The Greenwich Lane, the luxury development being built where St. Vincent’s Hospital once stood. (Read more here: Investigation Continues At Construction Site That Killed Manhattan’s Tina Nguyen). After Nguyen’s death, the local community board passed a resolution urging the mayor to invest more resources in preventing construction site accidents and deaths.
Fatal construction accidents remain far too common, despite federal, state and local regulations pertaining to work and equipment at construction sites.
Block O’Toole & Murphy fights to protect the rights of those injured, or tragically killed, in construction accidents. We are committed to helping injured workers and their families during the very difficult times that follow a serious work-related accident.
The construction accident attorneys at Block O’Toole & Murphy are available for a free consultation at 212-736-5300. You can also learn more about the firm by visiting the firm’s website at blockotoole.com.