One person is dead and three are injured following a scaffolding collapse at 136 East 36th Street near Lexington Avenue in New York.
New York’s Department of Buildings and Office of Emergency Management said workers were restoring parts of the residential building when “a piece of the facade came crashing down onto the scaffold. Debris was left littered about the area after the molding fell all the way from near the top of the building.”
FDNY Assistant Chief Tom Currao confirmed a call out to the incident at 4:30 pm on July 16, and said one person had died while three others had sustained injuries.
“At 4:26 pm this afternoon we received a call for a suspended scaffolding collapse. We were on scene within 5-6 minutes with both fire and EMS operations, and special operations personnel.
“Our units went to work right away surveying – looking for victims, accounting for victims – and beginning to secure the area. We have four victims – one minor, two serious injuries, and unfortunately one fatality,” Currao said.
All injured victims were working on site at the time, and were taken to Bellevue Hospital, Eyewitness News ABC7NY said.
Here’s what you need to know.
The Equipment the Workers were Using ‘Failed, Collapsed & Caused a Catastrophe’
ABC 7 New York reported on what occurred while work was carried out to restore the facade of the 11-story Midtown Manhattan building.
“The rigging platform gave way and plunged a heap of jagged metal and crumbled rock to the sidewalk shed below,” the outlet said, and a worker was killed on the spot.
Josh Einiger with ABC7 New York reported, “The city requires that buildings over a certain height maintain their facades to keep bricks and other things falling off the buildings … on this particular project, the actual equipment the workers were using … failed and collapsed, and caused a catastrophe.”
“The platform carrying the workers up and down so they could work on the facade … somehow, the rigging holding that platform up gave way, sending workers toppling to the sidewalk shed and the ground below.”
Einiger said it was not clear what caused the accident.
The New York Post reported on photographs of the aftermath of the accident showing the “sidewalk shed sinking under the weight of debris.”
There Was a Separate Incident Involving a Building Collapse a Few Blocks Away Earlier the Same Day
— NYCFireWire (@NYCFireWire) July 16, 2020
The event followed another shortly after 11 a.m. on July 16 at a site where a building collapsed, just a few blocks away on East 34th Street.
NYC Buildings confirmed they were investigating two separate incidents at East 34th and East 36th street, related to a partial building collapse and a suspended scaffold collapse respectively.
NBC New York reported the vacant four-story building had been the site of “multiple collapses … where emergency personnel had responded … twice earlier on Thursday [July 17.]”
There were no reported injuries at the incident.
Videos and images quickly emerged on Twitter capturing the damage from the 34th street collapse.
BUILDING COLLAPSE IN MANHATTAN: 211 East 34 Street. Reported 4 stories have collapsed. Building had prior damage issues. Unknown injuries. pic.twitter.com/nwt9J6dAtF
— NYC Scanner (@NYScanner) July 16, 2020
Emergency management staffer Karla Fuentes said the accident had seen the closure of 34th Street between 2nd & 3rd.
— Karla Fuentes, MPH (@karlainafrica) July 16, 2020
On July 14, a wall collapse at a Brooklyn home forced an evacuation of three buildings.
‘We Cannot Keep Watching Bricks Fall, Scaffolding Collapse, Injuring & Killing New Yorkers,’NYC Council Member Ben Kallos says
We cannot keep watching bricks fall, scaffolding collapse, injuring and killing New Yorkers. These bricks should never have been allowed to deteriorate to the point that they fell and the scaffolding should never have collapsed. (1/3)https://t.co/vrVZoEM5fW
— Ben Kallos, NYC Council Member (@BenKallos) July 17, 2020
— Steven Bognar (@Bogs4NY) July 16, 2020
NYC Council Member Ben Kallos responded to the event in a statement on July 17, where he said, “We cannot keep watching bricks fall, scaffolding collapse, injuring and killing New Yorkers.
“These bricks should never have been allowed to deteriorate to the point that they fell and the scaffolding should never have collapsed.
“We must pass a law forcing the inspection of every inch of scaffolding as soon as possible. We must pass a law to require building owners to maintain their buildings or step in as a city and do the work ourselves. My deepest sympathies to the families of those killed and injured in this latest collapse and they have my pledge to keep fighting so no one faces the same threat.”
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