One man was injured in a partial building collapse in Manhattan on Wednesday, July 8, 2020. The accident took place in the Murray Hill neighborhood, at 205 East 38th Street near Third Avenue. Without warning, around noon, bricks began to tumble down from the facade of the five-story building, crushing the black Lincoln town car parked below and injuring the man sitting inside. He was treated at the scene for his injuries before being transported to a local hospital.
A witness to the incident said he was sitting in his car at a red light when he saw bricks start falling. “…The whole side of the building, mostly the top, came down on the cars,” he said. He also stated that the injured victim looked “bloody and disoriented” before he was taken away by an ambulance.
The building itself was vacant, a former parking garage. The Department of Buildings (DOB) is investigating this incident further. They noted that the building was last inspected on July 6, 2020, after receiving a complaint that stated the building was undergoing construction without a permit. After the July 6 inspection, the building was cited because inspectors couldn’t gain access to it for the second time in less than two weeks. DOB records state that the metal gate was rolled down and padlocked, and no one responded to the inspectors’ knocks.
Unfortunately, this is not an uncommon incident. FDNY Deputy Chief Nicholas Corrado said “The buildings in New York City are not getting any younger,” and that the fire department anticipates calls like this. On July 1, 2020, Jacinto Salazar, a gym maintenance worker, was injured when the three-story Carroll Gardens building he was working in collapsed. And in December 2019, prominent New York City architect Erica Tishman was killed when she was struck by a chunk of falling building facade in Times Square.
Buildings that are not properly maintained are bound to cause accidents like these. It is incredibly frustrating to know that they could be prevented if proper precautions were taken and building regulations were followed. The New York City Building Code states that any building owner or authorized person who wishes to do construction of any sort on a building must obtain a permit to do so. Additionally, once the permit has been obtained and construction begins, inspections are required throughout the process to verify compliance with all codes and regulations. Once construction is complete, another inspection must be performed to ensure the building complies with all relevant codes and safety regulations. If any area of the building does not, it must be corrected and that portion of the building must be concealed until corrected.
Clearly, the building involved in this incident did not comply with the New York City Building Code; there was no permit for construction and authorized inspections were unable to be performed. If this building had been properly managed, it is possible the unstable bricks would have been noticed and could have been covered up before they could fall and hurt pedestrians. Instead, the negligent management of this building led to an individual’s injuries and suffering.
If you have been injured in an accident caused by another party’s negligence, the personal injury lawyers at Block O’Toole & Murphy are here for you. Since 2012, we have obtained the largest number of case results exceeding $1,000,000 in New York for our clients, such as a $110,174,972.38 jury verdict for a cyclist who was paralyzed from the waist down after he was struck by a railroad tie that fell from an overhead construction zone.