Residents of Bed-Stuy Brooklyn were shocked and frightened Tuesday afternoon, when a 4-story building collapsed unexpectedly. Three levels of residential homes, sitting atop a commercial space, imploded downwards into itself, in a cacophony of brick and glass and wood. One eye-witness was quoted as saying they,
“Thought it was a bomb that went off,” when describing the noise.
First-responders to the scene quickly learned that, at the time of the incident, the building was empty. Though they quickly scrambled through the rubble anyway, searching for anyone who might be injured. In accidents such as these, passers-by are usually among the injured. The swathe of destruction caused by collapsed buildings is generally large, and encompasses not only the site but the nearby sidewalks and streets. This collapse tore holes into adjoining buildings, leaving gaping sightlines through the surrounding architecture, and a smattering of structure-guts littering an intersection.
Of course, an accident of this nature is sure to cause traffic problems. NYC commuters were told to avoid the area in the aftermath. For subway riders, that meant avoiding the A and C trains at all costs. Motorists were advised to circumnavigate the street the building was located on, Fulton Street, and as many of the adjacent roads (Nostrand, Albany, Tompkins, etc.) as they could. This helped ease the flow of traffic enough to allow emergency medical vehicles access to the scene.
Building collapses of this nature aren’t unheard of- but they are always dangerous. Normal protocol dictates that a building whose structural integrity has been comprised be demolished, but on a fixed schedule and in a controlled setting. For instance, in April, four Midtown construction workers were injured when a wall inside a Madison Avenue building collapsed. The men had been doing demolition work inside the building, on the mezzanine level, when a masonry wall fell, unplanned, and sent them plummeting towards the ground floor. Despite falling over ten feet, trailed by chandeliers and other dangerous wreckage, the men were not trapped when EMS arrived on the scene, and none suffered any life-threatening injuries.
It could be noted, that the reaction to the former incident, the Bed-Stuy building collapse, sort of speaks to the mindset of the everyday civilian living in post-9/11 New York. Thoughts jump quickly to bombs and explosions, even this far removed in time. It goes to show that New Yorkers are now, and may likely forever be, on high alert. While it may be a case of fearing the worst, it also exemplifies a New Yorker’s vigilance and caution. Because while this structural implosion was certainly a catastrophe, there was no malice involved. Only an unexpected accident that was precipitated by nature’s unavoidable, eventual stake at reclamation of any material that is not properly maintained.
According to OSHA, there are some things to remember when dealing with collapsed structures. Obviously, both collapsed and partially collapsed buildings are volatile scenarios with many implicit dangers lurking. That’s why only professional rescue workers and certified emergency responders should ever enter the affected site. And they should do so in an organized and well-planned fashion. A comprehensive evaluation of the structural condition of the area should be performed before any rescue worker rushes inside. Remember, just because one collapse has occurred, this does not mean that gravity will not loose more of the structure from its original position. Subsequent slides and collapses should be anticipated and accounted for when conducting victim extraction. Water pipeline bursts and natural gas leaks should be tested for. Flooding is an enormously hazardous occurrence. So too is potentially flammable gas leaking into the air. That goes the same for other toxic, airborne elements. A head safety official should test for the presence of such dangers and adjust strategy accordingly.
Building collapses occur more often than you may think, and partial deconstructions happen even more frequently still. Which means that there are risks involved for all those perambulating New York City: flaneurs and everyday pedestrians, couriers and delivery people, tourists and old-timers alike. Debris and bric-a-brac of all sorts has been known to free itself from its constructive holds and rain down upon unsuspecting bystanders. And if that has happened to you, it’s important that you confer with a real New York law firm with a team of experienced and compassionate attorneys who know how to win compensation for you. At Kaplan Lawyers PC, we promise both expertise and enthusiasm. Our intimate knowledge of New York City gives us an edge when dealing with situations of this nature. If you or a loved one has been struck by falling debris or injured in any other building-related accident, contact us today. We will help win you compensation that will provide for your medical bills and keep you financially stable during your time of need.
Our consultations are a free and easy way to get started.