Ulanda Williams is glad she weighs 400 pounds, even though she crashed through one of New York’s Upper East Side sidewalks Friday.
The Queens resident said a thinner woman might have died from the fall, But Williams was discharged from the New York-Presbyterian Hospital with not-so-serious injuries from her fall.
“Thank God, they said that my size was the only thing that saved me,” Williams said.
Williams was waiting for a bus when she tried to hide under an awning to get in out of the rain. The ground suddenly went out from under her and she smashed down through the sidewalk into the space by the cellar of a restuarant.
She broke her arm in two places in the six-foot drop and suffered cuts and bruises all over her face and neck.
There were no warning signs anywhere, she said.
Nothing, nothing. It happened so instantly that I didn’t even recognize anything. Cement was all over me, debris. They had a bed frame down there, broken pipes and wood pieces. It was a hollow place. I was standing there approximately 10 seconds and when that occurred, I just fell right through.
Williams is a tall woman as well as being large, standing 6 ft. 5 inches tall. The fire department had to use a crane and cargo net to get her out of the collapsed sidewalk.
Her weight wasn’t the cause of the collapse, though. The City Department of Buildings inspectors found a section of sidewalk had collapsed into the vault cellar, and there were defective steel doors leading to the vault.
The building has had several open violations, including a complaint its facade was coming loose. The DOB issued the building owner a citation, but its owner claimed the building had never had any violations and he hadn’t heard about Williams’ fall.