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A Hero Walks Among Us


Friday February 5 was a tragic day in Lower Manhattan, as a crane collapsed into a busy street below, endangering the lives of construction workers, motorists, pedestrians and neighborhood residents.

The outcome: One person killed. Three more injured.

Without the actions of a heroic crane operator, the outcome could have been much worse.


New York City has been the unfortunate home to a seemingly endless array of construction-related incidents, as the real estate boom has combined with human and corporate negligence to injure and kill innocent people.

Corners have been cut, such as increasing the amount of non-union labor being used on large construction projects in order to preserve profits or failing to be proactive in adhering to safety regulations.

But, in the midst of these negligent actions and inactions, there are still people who do their jobs to the best of their ability and do their best in an attempt to ensure the safety of their coworkers and fellow New Yorkers.

Kevin Reilly of Port Jefferson is one of them.

Mr. Reilly managed to land the plunging crane with as little cost to human life and property as possible last Friday. A report in The New York Daily News credits him with battling 40 mph wind gusts and navigating the crane to the ground. His calm demeanor and coolness under pressure were noted by many, who realized just how much worse this tragedy could have been.

According to the New York Post:

"The collapse happened as the operator of the 600-foot-high crane was beginning to lower it to the ground to keep it from being buffeted by a morning snow squall, and when a strong gust helped knock it off balance, he was able to steer the rig so that it fell along Worth Street, which had already been mostly cleared of pedestrians.

"There were very high, gusty winds, and that's the primary factor in the collapse, "according to a source familiar with the investigation.

"If this crane operator wasn't on top of his game, this would have been a complete disaster," the source added of operator Kevin Reilly, who was in the cab steering at the time."


The Aftermath

Crews spent this past Saturday and Sunday cutting the crane into pieces that can be more easily removed, allowing the busy street to be reopened to traffic.

And the investigation is still in its early stages, examining everything from the possibility of metal fatigue to the crane's computer system. Hopefully they can pinpoint the exact cause of this tragedy and recommend actions to prevent future incidents.

At Block O'Toole & Murphy, we have been thinking about how tragic it is that yet another preventable death has occurred in the city we call home. How many more people will have to die, how many people will have to suffer severe injuries, in order to make changes to the way construction is done in NYC?

While Mayor Bill de Blasio is proposing new safety measures, we will focus on holding negligent parties accountable for failing to follow the existing safety measures. We devote our practice to helping people recover the compensation they need in order to move on after a traumatic injury or the loss of a loved one.

We hope you never need our services, but we also know that lives can be changed by an accident in the blink of an eye. If you ever find yourself in need of help after suffering an injury, you can call us at 212-736-5300 to speak with a proven personal injury attorney.