Construction Collapse Traps Workers In Brighton Beach, One Dead

11/08/2011 03:43 pm ET | Updated Jan 08, 2012
  • AP/The Huffington Post

NEW YORK — Fire officials say one worker is dead and four others were injured after a building collapsed in Brooklyn.

The Fire Department of New York says the workers were in a five-story building when it collapsed Tuesday. Two of the injured are in serious condition.

Images from a helicopter over the scene in Brighton Beach showed rescuers scrambling to claw their way through a pile of rubble where the building had mostly crumbled to the ground. One trapped worker was pulled onto a stretcher and lowered to the ground.

Robert Approbato, a 53-year-old worker for Stillwell Ready Mix, told The Wall Street Journal he saw "one of the construction workers trying to run and the whole thing...started coming down like thunder. I saw slabs just come buckling down and then the screaming and the yelling."

Buildings Department spokesman Tony Sclafani says inspectors are investigating whether improper procedures played a role in the collapse. He says work permits were issued in July, 2011 and that there were no open violations.

[UPDATE] Robert LiMandri, commissioner of the Buildings Department, tells The New York Times that workers "were pouring concrete in the wrong sequence, and we believe that that is a major contributor to this collapse today." Construction guidelines call for workers to pour concrete starting from the bottom floors and then working upwards. LiMandri tells The Times a preliminary investigation shows workers were starting from the top and working their way down.

Gothamist also reports that a formal complaint was issued to the Buildings Department on November 5th, regarding after-hours work at the construction site. The Department didn't immediately follow up on the complaint and LiMardri insists the after-hours work and the building collapse aren't connected.