Monday, September 10, 2012

Construction Worker Killed at Brooklyn Jobsite

A construction worker died and a second was critically injured Monday morning when the top level of a townhouse under construction in Fort Greene, Brooklyn, caved in, causing two men to plunge 30 feet into the basement of the new building. Investigators from DOB believe the beams were not properly supported, which led to the collapse, and has halted any further construction at the jobsite pending a full investigation.

Five construction workers were standing on the top level of a four-story structure at 227 Carlton Avenue, between Willoughby and DeKalb avenues when the floor gave way at 9:15 a.m. They were receiving a load of heavy concrete blocks when a support beam gave way.

Workers had loaded four pallets of cinder blocks onto the third floor with a boom truck. When they set down a fifth pallet, the floor gave way, according to a representative from the Department of Buildings. "We believe it was such a heavy load that it created pressure on the top floor, causing it to collapse.

As the structure caved in, two workers jumped to safety onto an adjoining structure, and a third hung suspended over the collapsed debris and managed to pull himself to safety, said James Leonard, Brooklyn borough commander for the Fire Department.

It took firefighters about 20 minutes to pull the two fallen workers from the basement. One of the men, a 67-year-old Brooklyn resident, was brought to Brooklyn Hospital Center, where he was pronounced dead. The second man was brought to Kings County Hospital with serious but non-life-threatening injuries. He was in stable condition Monday afternoon, police said.

"This tragic incident raises serious concerns about the safety practices at this construction site, and whether there was proper oversight of this construction by both the Department of Buildings and the developer," said City Council Councilwoman Leticia James, who represents Fort Greene.

The construction site had no prior complaints or code violations filed with the Buildings Department, according to the agency and contractors had obtained the proper permits to work on the building.

The New York Times recently reported that neighbors said they had noticed structural damage to their homes and called 311 to report excessive vibrations at the construction site but did not file formal complaints

The four-story apartment building, which was being erected by Professional Grade Construction of Brooklyn, is part of a complex known as Carlton Mews.