A 19-year-old construction worker died and two others were injured after a wall caved in on them while they were doing excavation work at a building in Bedford-Stuyvesant, according to authorities. A cinder block wall fell onto the workers at about 11:30 a.m. on Thursday, Sept. 3.
“The earth was removed from beneath that one-story masonry wall,” Rick Chandler, the Department of Buildings Commissioner, said. The Myrtle Avenue building was being converted from a one-story structure to a five-story mixed-use building. “That’s a recipe for a wall to collapse, and unfortunately that’s the tragedy that happened,” Chandler said.
The teenager, identified as Fernando Vanegas, was rushed to Brooklyn Hospital, where he was pronounced dead. Two other men were transported to Kings County Hospital and they were in stable condition.
The city had issued a stop-work order for the building almost a year ago, however, the stop-work order was vacated once the permit was granted for new work.
“The good thing is: People had taken out permits and done the right thing to repair the building,” Chandler said. “Unfortunately, it appears they took more of a risk than they should have doing this excavation.”
Following the incident, Avishay Mazor, 53, the engineer who designed the work site where the teen was killed had threatened to commit suicide at his Midwood home on Friday morning.
Mazor slit his wrists and attempted to jump off the roof of his three-story home when NYPD officers grabbed him. Two officers wrestled with Mazor on the roof before they brought him under control.
Mazor was taken to Kings County Hospital in stable condition, police said.
A thorough, detailed investigation into the cause of these buildings collapsing must begin immediately so that crucial evidence is not destroyed. The City of New York and its agencies cannot be relied upon to perform these types of investigations. Many times it is determined that improper building permits were issued by the City and therefore liability is found against the Department of Buildings of the City of New York. Hiring the right lawyer to uncover negligent acts is the first important step.
If you or a loved one have been injured in a building collapse, contact Jared Levine of Morgan Levine Dolan at 212-461-499 today.