1 Killed, 1 Injured in Brooklyn Wall Collapse

Monday, December 28th, 2020

At around 1:30 p.m. on December 28th, 2020, two workers were trapped under heavy debris after a 9-foot brick retaining wall collapsed in a residential backyard at 454 42nd Street in Sunset Park, Brooklyn. One worker was left in critical condition and another tragically died from his injuries.

Reportedly more than 100 first responders were called to the scene of the collapse to free the two trapped workers. The surviving worker was transported by ambulance to Lutheran Hospital; firefighters say he was seriously injured and is currently in critical condition. The other worker sadly died at the scene of the accident. Our thoughts and prayers are with the workers’ loved ones during this difficult time.

It is currently unclear what events led up to the wall’s collapse. The area will remain closed off so investigators and search through the remaining debris.

Deputy FDNY Chief James A. Boyle shared, “It was a 9-foot retaining wall. It was a 90 degree collapse onto the workers.”

Another laborer, Tomel Shamsuddism, was working with the two men before leaving to get lunch just moments before the collapse occurred. Shamsuddism told reporters “God saved me.” He recounted asking the two men to work with him, saying “I called last night, you guys work with me, [we’ll] work together. They said ok.”

Wall collapses are extremely dangerous and can have devastating consequences. When a person is trapped beneath a fallen wall, it can be nearly impossible for them to move or breathe under the crushing weight of the debris. Bricks weigh about 2,500 to 3,500 pounds per cubic yard.
This type of accident is referred to as a “caught-in or between” accident by the Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) and is considered one of the top four causes for construction fatalities.
To prevent wall collapses, OSHA recommends the following:
  • Only allow essential construction personnel in the work area
  • Make sure structures are shored or braced until permanent supports are in place
  • Never place construction loads on a structure until a qualified person confirms the structure can support it

When a wall collapse occurs, it generally means that something went wrong in the construction, demolition, or renovation of said structure. However, it may be difficult to identify who is responsible for the issue. A proper investigation is necessary to thoroughly understand the circumstances that led to the collapse. A number of people can be held responsible for the accident, including general contractors, property owners, equipment manufacturers, and subcontractors.

All authority figures on a construction site must take the proper precautions to ensure their workers are safe. If you or a loved one were injured as a result of another party’s negligent actions, it may be in your best interest to contact a skilled lawyer well-versed in the laws surrounding construction accidents.

The construction accident lawyers at Block O’Toole & Murphy have a proven track record helping those who were injured as a result of another party’s negligent behavior. Notable results include a $7,300,000 settlement for a worker who was seriously injured after a 10,000-pound steel beam collapsed, landing on top of him.

To speak with one of our experienced attorneys, please call 212-736-5300 or fill out our online contact form.


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