208th St. building collapse that killed 1 & injured 5 was preventable: DOB

Firefighters climb to the building’s second floor during the operation.

A man was killed and five others were injured after a two-floor building partially collapsed at 94 E. 208th Street in Norwood on Tuesday, August 27.

The under construction building buckled just before noon while workers were trapped inside and on the property’s bottom floor, which received the brunt of the unexpected structural falter.

The brick building was surrounded by construction façade and scaffolding during its partial collapse, which firefighters had to navigate around during the rescue.

“There was a lot of rubble and broken concrete blocks, a lot of building material that covered the area and we had to dig through it to find the missing worker,” said FDNY Chief of Special Operations John Esposito while on the scene.

FDNY members eventually recovered the fatally injured construction worker beneath much of those collapsed construction materials on its ground floor, according to the agency.

Upon an investigation to the collapse, a Department of Buildings spokesperson said, “this was a preventable tragedy.”

The DOB determined that the incomplete, under-construction third story of the building was overloaded with concrete masonry blocks, causing its collapse onto the second floor and inadvertently trapping the worker who was killed, according to the agency.

“We had serious concerns for our members on scene. We were concerned about the second floor collapsing into the first floor during our operation. We were able to build shores and put struts in there to support that load to make it safe for the rescue efforts,” Esposito said.

Out of the other five workers that suffered injuries, two were reported to be in serious condition while three faced non-life threatening wounds.

Fortunately enough, none of the 110 dispatched firefighters from over 30 units suffered injuries while conducting the special search and rescue operation in Norwood, according to the agency.

Those members of New York’s Bravest managed to control the scene in just over an hour at 1:19 p.m.

The partially constructed, two-floor building was intended to be a four story, eight unit residential complex, which received approval from the department of buildings on Saturday, January 4, while also receiving newer permits in May, according to the DOB.

The project’s general contractor is Brooklyn based Pioneer General Construction.

Since the incident, the DOB has issued a stop work order at 94 E. 208th Street and ordered ownership to secure the property overnight to prevent further damage.

“We will continue to investigate this incident aggressively and bring all appropriate enforcement actions against those responsible,” that same DOB spokesperson said.

The Bronx Times Reporter contacted Pioneer General Construction but did receive a response prior to press time.

The job site at 94 E. 208th Street following the collapse.
Miram Quin

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