Who knew that this wall was unstable? That is the critical question investigators will be asking.
A construction worker was killed and 2 others were seriously injured by a wall that collapsed on them while they were working at a construction site in the Bedford-Stuyvesant section of Brooklyn. The accident took place at 656 Myrtle Avenue.
Reports indicate that a retaining wall at the construction site collapsed. The retaining wall was designed to hold back soil around the perimeter of the building. The wall collapsed as the 3 men were working, burying the unwary victims beneath a pile of cement, cinder blocks and dust. Shocked fellow workers and emergency personnel rushed to their aid and attempted to free them. Once free, they were rushed to local hospitals. One victim, whose name has not been released yet, was pronounced dead at the hospital. He was 19 years old.
An investigation into the circumstances of the accident ensued immediately after the tragedy took place. The Department of Buildings is leading the investigation. Critical details are emerging about a prior complaint concerning the safety of a wall at this precise location which was made to a different municipal agency. Indeed, the Department of Environmental Protection received a complaint which, among other things, alleged that a wall at this construction site “was not stable.” Investigators will focus on whether this complaint was related to the accident and what was done about it. If in fact they are talking about the same wall the questions will certainly become uncomfortable for those involved.
- Did the Department of Environmental Protection follow through and make sure that the issue was addressed after receiving the complaint?
- Were persons responsible for safety at the construction site advised about this condition?
- If so, did safety personnel at the worksite take steps to remedy the problem?
Investigators will also look into the type of work that was being performed at the site and whether this work could impact the structural stability of a wall like this. Should the wall have been shored or braced to keep it stable? We will learn the answers as the investigators comb through the evidence in meticulous fashion.
In the meantime, another innocent construction worker has lost his life and two others are seriously injured. Our thoughts and prayers go out to the family and friends of all of the workers involved. The general public continues to be exposed to the perils of construction work. It seems a different victim is injured or killed on an almost daily basis in New York City. Still, improving worker safety laws and practices remains a topic that is infrequently discussed in political circles and often ignored by the media.
Block O’Toole & Murphy is a law firm that is committed to fighting on behalf of construction workers and their families. The firm has recovered more than $850,000,000 in verdicts and settlements for their injured clients. You can learn more about the firm at www.blockotoole.com.