A construction worker was killed and another seriously injured when a roof overloaded with cinder blocks collapsed on them and they fell 30 feet at an apartment building under construction in Fort Greene, Brooklyn, officials said.
The accident happened around 9:15 a.m. Monday at 227 Carlton Avenue, near Willoughby Avenue, fire officials said.
Ignatius Regis, 55, a bricklayer who was on the three-story-high roof when it collapsed, said that workers had loaded four pallets of cinder blocks onto the roof with a boom truck, and that when they set down a fifth pallet, the roof gave way.
“The load was too heavy,” said Mr. Regis, who watched helplessly from a part of the roof did not collapse. “I heard a big noise and I saw this guy go down.”
The city’s buildings commissioner, Robert LiMandry, confirmed that the cinder blocks appeared to be the cause of the collapse. “The floor was not structurally stable,” Mr. LiMandry said. Another buildings official, Tony Sclafani, said that the support beams beneath the roof buckled.
As the structure caved in, two workers jumped to safety onto an adjoining roof 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.
The two wounded men fell all the way to the basement, and it took firefighters about 20 minutes to pull them out, Mr. Leonard said.
The fatally injured worker was 67 years old, a law enforcement official said. He was declared dead on arrival at Brooklyn Hospital Center. His name was not immediately released; Mr. Regis said he was from Jamaica and had worked on the job for five months.
The other worker, whose injuries did not appear to be life-threatening, was being treated Kings County Hospital, Mr. Leonard said.
The apartment building, part of a complex known as Carlton Mews, is being erected by Professional Grade Construction of Homecrest, Brooklyn. Mr. LiMandy said that the company was issued a violation July during the excavation process on the building site.
One neighbor said that he had recently called 311 to complain about excessive vibrations coming from the construction site, but did not file a formal complaint.
Other neighbors said they had noticed structural damage to their own homes, including cracks in the walls and bricks falling off their facades, since the construction started a few months ago.
Gina Guehrer, 42, a restaurant manager who lives on the block, said the collapse “sounded like a dump truck dropping a load of boulders onto a car. Then right after, men hollering and then sirens.”
Alex Sichel, 49, a filmmaker who lives next door, said the men on stretchers were covered in dust and dirt.
“We knew these guys; we’ve seen them every day for weeks,” she said.
Through empty windows in the gray cinder block building, shredded and twisted metal from what was the roof could be seen.
Source: NY Times