On the morning of October 21, 2019, two construction workers were injured, one fatally, after a wall collapsed at the Beth Hamedrash Hagodol synagogue on the Lower East Side. Officials from the Department of Buildings are investigating the incident.
At around 10:00am, a three-story wall of the Beth Hamedrash Hagodol synagogue collapsed, trapping two construction workers who were in the process of demolishing the structure. The two workers were pulled from the rubble by emergency responders and transported to nearby hospitals. Tragically, one worker, Stanislaw Supinski, went into cardiac arrest and died shortly after arriving to New York-Presbyterian/Lower Manhattan Hospital. The other worker, Waldemar Klimaszewski, was brought to Bellevue Hospital.
Our thoughts and prayers are with the Supinski family at this difficult time. At his home in Ridgewood, Queens, neighbor Crystal Inzirillo regarded Supinski and his girlfriend as the “best tenants” in the apartment building. “I’m just still in so much shock. He was a nice man, a quiet man,” she told to the New York Daily News.
The Beth Hamedrash Hagodol synagogue, located at 60 Norfolk St. on the Lower East Side, was a historic site in the city. It once housed the area’s oldest Jewish Orthodox congregation, according to The New York Times. The building went into disrepair after Jewish community members moved to other areas of the city, leaving those who remained unable to maintain it. The building was closed permanently in 2007 after failed fund raising efforts to save it.
In May 2017, the landmark synagogue was severely damaged from a suspected arson. In June 2019, the Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC) required the demolition of the remaining fire-damaged tower, interfering with plans to incorporate parts of the tower in new developments. The synagogue remains were deemed too dangerous by city engineers who reported the tower to be “simply too far gone,” according to LPC chairperson Sarah Carroll.
Officials say the two workers were pulled from the rubble as remains of the broken structure hung above them. Andrew Rudansky, an official from the Department of Buildings, told amNewYork that inspectors were on the scene, although it is too early to determine whether the proper permits were in place at the time of the accident. The Department of Buildings issued a stop work order to allow proper investigation of the site.
We hope the investigation finds answers for what led to this tragedy for the two workers and their loved ones.
Building collapse accidents are rare but extremely dangerous. To prevent a building collapse during construction projects, workers are required to adhere to New York Building Codes and construction principles that are designed to ensure the safe construction or demolition of a building.
The damages suffered from a building collapse can be catastrophic to the lives of those affected. For victims to be duly compensated for their losses, it is important to establish who is at fault for the accident, taking into consideration who was responsible for the error that caused the collapse as well as whether or not the responsible party anticipated and made an effort to prevent such an accident.
Our hearts are with the families of the two workers who are victims in this tragic building collapse.
The attorneys at Block O’Toole & Murphy are dedicated to helping those who have suffered severe losses due to another party’s negligence receive the compensation they are entitled to under the law. Our lawyers have a proven record of finding justice for victims of construction accidents, including a $4.4 million settlement for a union construction worker who died as a result of his injuries when the temporary flooring on which he was walking collapsed causing him to fall 10 feet to the ground below.