[UPDATE] Ceiling Collapse Kills One, Seriously Injures Another In Midtown Building

Dashed Arrow Vanessa Appleby

A ceiling collapsed this morning at a midtown building under demolition, killing one person and seriously injuring at least one other. The FDNY is on the scene now, and witnesses in the area say a block of West 38th Street between Fifth and Sixth Avenues is closed off as firefighters attempt to rescue people still inside.

The collapse, at 25 West 38th Street, was reported around 10:30 a.m. An FDNY spokesman said the eight story building has been undergoing demolition. According to the NY Post, the Buildings Department has been called to the scene to determine how unstable the building currently is.

Vanessa Appleby, who works across the street from the site, tells us there are at least 11 fire trucks on the scene, "and the street is closed off. Half of our staff can't get to work. They're not letting anyone in or out of the building."

We'll update as more information becomes available.

Update 11:54 a.m.: A man who was working on the building next door tells the Post, "All I heard were people screaming and yelling. The two top floors collapsed and people are still trapped. The ceiling caved in on the two top floors. Every injured person is still in there. The guy in charge was screaming for everyone to get out.”

According to the Department of Buildings website, the building is being demolished to make way for a 27 story, 170 key luxury boutique hotel, the Aloft New York Midtown Hotel, owned by the Fortuna Realty Group. A demolition permit was issued in May, and there have been no recent complaints at the site. The FDNY has now requested a stability inspection.

Northeast Service Interiors, based in Maspeth, was handling the demolition. No one at Northeast Service Interiors was available to comment on the collapse; the person who answered the phone said, "Everyone is out in the field."

There were reportedly 19 workers in the building at the time of the collapse.

Update 1:14 p.m.: Nearly three hours after the collapse, one person is still in the rubble:

Update 2:25: The FDNY has removed the trapped worker.

Additional reporting by Jen Chung.

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