Building Collapse Kills Construction Worker

NY Times - October 30, 2011

by SARAH MASLIN NIR

A construction worker was killed after a building he was working in collapsed and buried him under six feet of rubble in the Bronx on Saturday afternoon, the police said.

Muhamed Kebbeh, 51, of Story Avenue in the Bronx, died at Jacobi Medical Center shortly after the accident. About a dozen pillars in the basement of a two-story commercial building had given way, causing the structure to collapse. Two other construction workers escaped unharmed, a spokesman for the New York Police Department said.

Firefighters dug Mr. Kebbeh out from under the rubble with their bare hands about 10 minutes after the collapse, said Jim Donlevy, a F.D.N.Y. deputy chief from Division 6. Around 50 firefighters responded to the scene, he said.

"He was buried under six feet of bricks and other debris," Deputy Chief Donlevy said. "He was hurt pretty bad."

The chief said that a construction crew was doing "active demolition" in the basement of the building at the time.

Nick Ayd, 34, was across the street at a carpet store that his cousin owns when he heard the collapse.

"We heard a big noise and we thought it was the train passing," said Mr. Ayd, who dialed 911 at 12:10 p.m. "Then I went out and saw that the building had come down; it was crazy."

Efforts to identify the current building owner were unsuccessful.