2012-04-05 / Other News

Collapsed Building Where Worker Died Is Demolished

MAN DIES IN BUILDING COLLAPSE
By Neil Friedman


A house under construction in Gerritsen Beach collapsed Tuesday morning, resulting in one death and two serious injuries. Structure was demolished the following day (inset). A house under construction in Gerritsen Beach collapsed Tuesday morning, resulting in one death and two serious injuries. Structure was demolished the following day (inset). A day after part of a house in Gerritsen Beach collapsed on a 25- year-old construction worker, who soon after died from injuries suffered in the accident, a demolition crew razed the remaining structure and later cleared the debris from the site.

Inspectors from the city's Department of Buildings (DOB) were at the site, at 40 Frank Court off Sheba Avenue, early yesterday to resume their investigation seeking clues why the house suddenly collapsed killing the worker and injuring four others.

Just before 11 a.m. Tuesday, Santos Garcia and four others were adding a level to the one-story home, when, according to DOB spokeswoman Ryan FitzGibbon, the second floor slipped and fell on the worker. Garcia, she said, was on a ladder working on the roof at the time and got pinned under a pile of lumber when the house fell. Four others managed to escape the falling structure with minor injuries.

Emergency workers quickly responded to the scene, as the Gerritsen Beach fire house is only two blocks from the site. Garcia, from Borough Park, was pulled from under the debris, but was “unresponsive” and placed in an ambulance and rushed to Lutheran Hospital where he was pronounced dead a short time later, according to several media reports.

Fire Department officials reported four other workers received medical treatment at the scene.

According to the Buildings Department records, a second story for the home was illegally built in 2004, but the property changed ownership several times since then. Last year, the records indicate a new permit to add the second story and renovate the interior was issued, but, authorities said yesterday, it is now “likely it had design flaws.”

Buildings Department Commissioner Robert Limandri, issued a statement that read noting that the accident was caused by “a series of mishaps,”, adding that “it appears that the existing structure could not support the second story addition, based on preliminary investigation.”

Meanwhile, yesterday, as the collapse was being investigated by the DOB, residents from the house next door were temporarily evacuated “for their own safety,” as investigators examined the site for answers, but reportedly returned home late Tuesday evening.

Ryan told the media, “We're going to look into everything to determine if anyone should be held responsible.” She noted that if that is the conclusion, violations will be issued to J.D. Construction, the building's contractor.

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