One Worker Dead, Another Injured in Wall Collapse During Queens Demolition

AM New York - February 21, 2020

by Todd Maisel

A 50-year-old construction worker is dead and another was seriously injured when a wall collapsed on them during demolition of a building in Queens, fire officials said

Firefighters rushed to 147-05 94th Avenue near Sutphin Boulevard in Jamaica at around 11:45 a.m. where they found two workers buried under debris, which came from a collapsed wall on the second floor of the mostly demolished building.

Firefighters were able to pull the two men from the debris and they were rushed to Jamaica Hospital, where one of the men died of massive head injuries. The other worker, age 44, was reported in serious condition, fire officials said. Neither worker has been identified at this time.

The site was said by officials to be a former milk packaging plant that went vacant and was taken over by Port Authority. It was then transferred to the city for Mayor Bill de Blasio’s signature affordable housing plan “Housing New York.” The plan is a 25-story multi-family rental building with amenities and commercial occupancy on the ground floor, according to permits on the walls surrounding the site.

Demolition permits on the site from Nov. 25, 2019, indicate that Cole Partners was demolishing at 3-story building “using handheld tools and partial mechanical means.” The two men, according to city officials, were cutting rebar on the third floor with a torch when the wall collapsed without warning.

Buildings Department officials were on scene with other agencies inspecting the area where the collapse occurred, though they were only able to see the actual collapse from the ground because of the threat of further collapse.

The demolition permits expire on March 1 of this year, according to the posted permits. Officials from the Department of Buildings did not yet comment on the permits or whether any summonses were issued to the company and said the incident was under investigation by their inspectors.

“Any loss of life on a construction site is a tragedy, and our engineers and inspectors are already on site conducting a thorough investigation. We want to assure the families of the victims that we will hold all responsible parties accountable to the fullest extent of the law,” said DOB Commissioner Melanie E. La Rocca in a statement.