Diego Rodriguez Celi Dies in Fall from High-Rise in Dumbo

Tuesday, December 14th, 2021

A frightening accident occurred at around 8:30 a.m. on Friday, December 10, 2021, when a window washer fell from the 12th floor of a high-rise building to a second-floor balcony below. He was sadly pronounced dead at the scene.

The window washer, identified as Diego Rodriguez Celi, a 34-year-old New Jersey resident, was hired to work on a high-rise condominium building that was under construction at 85 Jay Street in Brooklyn’s Dumbo neighborhood.

Officers who responded to the call reported finding Celi unconscious with injuries “indicating he had fallen from an elevated position.” The cause of the accident is being investigated by the NYPD and the NYC Department of Buildings (DOB).

The 21-story condominium project is being built under New Line Structures and Development’s management. According to city records, 115 complaints have been filed against the project since construction began in 2017. Of these complaints, nine were filed within the last year, some citing safety hazards, like a lack of personal protection equipment, that were later resolved by the DOB. In May 2021, a partial stop work order was issued when an inspector observed a worker operating a lift without a license. The partial stop work order was later rescinded after workers utilizing the lift received the proper training. Following the accident on Friday, a full stop work order was issued for site conditions endangering workers.

The victim worked alongside his cousin, Bolivar Celi, 53, at this job for the last several years. According to Bolivar, Diego never discussed feeling unsafe at work. Bolivar shared, “I spoke this morning with [Diego] and he was happy. He didn’t have any problems with it.”

Falls are considered one of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA) top four most common causes of construction fatalities. When construction workers are at elevations of six feet or more, they legally must be provided with fall protection. A common form of fall protection is a harness. Generally, a harness is meant to prevent the worker wearing it from falling and thereby prevents serious injury.

Some of the most dangerous construction jobs are those done at dangerous heights, including window washers, roofers, crane operators, bridge painters, etc. For a window washer that is working on a high-rise building in NYC, high-quality, functional fall protection is absolutely crucial.

Our hearts are with the victim’s loved ones during this very difficult time. We hope a thorough investigation is conducted to shed light on the circumstances that led to this tragic accident.

The construction accident lawyers at Block O’Toole & Murphy are very familiar with the catastrophic consequences that can result from a fall. Our legal team is proud to fight on behalf of construction workers who have suffered a devastating accident while working to provide for their loved ones. Our track record speaks for itself, with results including the following:

  • $11,000,000 settlement for a masonry foreman who fell three stories after stepping on an unsecured cover placed over a hole in the floor on a Brooklyn job site
  • $7,400,000 settlement for a union sheet metal worker who suffered serious injuries after a fall on his work site
  • $6,500,000 settlement for a union mechanic who fell 18-20 feet when the catwalk he was walking across collapsed

To receive a FREE, no-obligation legal consultation from one of our skilled attorneys, call 212-736-5300 or fill out our contact form online.


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