Early on the morning of November 27, 2013, a dramatic partial building collapse in New York City sent two individuals to the hospital with severe injuries. The building, located at 2601 Westchester Ave. (which reportedly belonged to B&L Auto Repair), collapsed on top of a father and son as they were working inside the property. While the immediate cause of the collapse wasn't determined, officials suspect either a defective air compressor or weather-related stress placed on the structure.
The men were pulled out from beneath the bricks, wood, and twisted metal by FDNY first responders shortly after 9AM and rushed to Jacobi Medical Center. Initial reports state that the individuals didn't suffer any life threatening injuries but did have multiple broken bones and burns as well as cuts and abrasions. Witnesses report hearing a large boom and seeing the building completely collapsed shortly thereafter. The two victims screamed for help until rescue crews arrived on scene.
Traffic was stopped both ways along the street and Con Ed was called in after the building collapse because neighbors reported smelling a gas odor in the area. New York City Department of Buildings records show that the property has two open violations including a "failure to maintain building" violation.
While building collapses in New York City are rare, it is, perhaps, surprising that they don't occur more often. Many of the apartment buildings and commercial properties in the City date back to the turn of the century. The Department of Buildings keeps track of open violations and does respond to potential hazards brought to their attention but with so many properties to inspect it's no wonder they're behind. Indeed, a report in 2010 found that over one third of Manhattan's public schools have at least one violation.
If you or a loved one has been injured in a building collapse in New York City or any other building defect, the property owner could very well be financially responsible for your medical expenses, lost wages, and more. But time is of the essence. Investigators must be dispatched to preserve the scene and pinpoint negligence in order for a successful outcome. Call the Law Offices of Nussin S. Fogel for a free consultation at (800) 734-9338 or (212) 385-1122 to learn your rights.