In Midtown Manhattan a five-story townhouse undergoing demolition collapsed. The site which is the future home of the Aloft New York Midtown Hotel is owned by industry giant Starwood.
At the time of the collapse there were 19 workers inside the building. Unfortunately, only 18 made it out alive. Pedro Bacilio was killed in the collapse and Kairo Garcia was rescued from the rubble with devastating injuries.
First responders, including approximately 65 firefighters, arrived at the site of the collapse, 25 West 38th St. between 5th and 6th Avenues, and were able to reach Bacilio, who regrettably died on scene, immediately. It took nearly three hours to reach Garcia who was partially buried underneath the rubble in the building’s basement.
Captain Dominic Bertucci of the New York City Fire Department who was part of the team that helped free Garcia has been quoted by the New York Post as saying “I’m amazed he made it out, given the void he was in and the amount of debris above him. He’s very lucky.”
What makes this accident even more tragic is the fact that the people involved in the project knew it was unsafe. According to the New York Times “an engineer involved in the project had ordered on Thursday that demolition work on the narrow, five-story building be stopped until the structure could be better secured.”
The exact cause of the collapse is under investigation and it is unclear if the work being done was an effort to shore up the structure or a continuation of demolition. Either way the collapse demonstrates the inherently dangerous nature of construction work. While even in the most safely managed and controlled situations, accidents can still happen they are more likely when corners are cut and safety warmings ignored. Proper site safety precautions can be taken to reduce the risks of a construction accident occurring, Much too often, with tragic results, property owners and general contractors put cost and time deadlines ahead of worker safety.
We extend our condolences to the family, friends and loved ones of the victims of this tragic accident. New York’s Labor Law provides strong protections for construction workers. If you have been injured in a construction accident contact Oresky & Associates, PLLC.. at (718) 993-9999