A 19-year-old construction worker was killed, and two of his coworkers were seriously injured, when a cinderblock wall collapsed and buried them at an active construction site at 656 Myrtle Avenue, near Franklin Avenue, in Bedford-Stuyvesant yesterday morning.
Wall collapse at construction site on Myrtle Ave pic.twitter.com/anjzZb7QdI
— Camille Bautista (@CamBautista) September 3, 2015
The FDNY responded to the scene at 11:37 a.m. yesterday, and transported the 19-year-old victim to Brooklyn Hospital in critical condition. He was pronounced dead upon arrival. The other two workers were taken to Methodist Hospital with serious, non-life-threatening injuries. None of the victims names have been released. They were reportedly employed by general contractor Y&S Framers Inc.
DNAInfo reports that the three workers were excavating at the site, when dirt "gave way" and a section of the building's rear wall tumbled onto them.
"The earth moved from under the first story masonry wall and that's a recipe for a wall to collapse," Department of Buildings Commissioner Rick Chandler told the news website.
U/D Brooklyn: 656 myrtle Ave. EMS reporting 1 in traumatic arrest to Brooklyn hospital. 2 other in stable condition. pic.twitter.com/OR9agRT2Ou
— NYC Scanner (@NYScanner) September 3, 2015
According to the Real Deal, 656 Myrtle is owned by Chaim and Esther Green of Binyan Myrtle LLC. In May 2014, the couple filed permits to expand the one-story retail building into a five-story building with two duplex apartments and retail on the first floor. A civilian complaint issued against Binyan in May of this year details "site conditions endangering workers," and alleges that the barrier wall was not stable. Also, the workers were not wearing masks despite the presence of asbestos on the site.
— Todd Maisel (@ToddMaisel) September 3, 2015
Another complaint, issued last August, detailed "failure to maintain building in a code-compliant manner," and resulted in a $1,000 fine. According to the DOB's website, sections of parapet on the front of the building had separated, and were leaning precariously over the sidewalk. A DOB spokesman confirmed that "part of the work to fix this violation was the work being done yesterday."
An investigation into the incident is ongoing, and DOB is onsite today while crews continue to clear debris. A full stop work order has been issued for the site, for all work unrelated to clearing operations.