2017-07-12 / Front Page

Cit Pulls Contractor’s License In Astoria Building Collapse

By Liz Goff
The city Department of Buildings (DOB) has pulled the license of a contractor in connection with a building collapse in Astoria that trapped and seriously injured three workers underneath thousands of pounds of construction materials on June 20.

DOB officials said Ideal Buildings and Construction Services of Queens and jobsite manager Fazal Hassan were hit with the penalty on June 28 for their actions leading up to the collapse.
Ideal Buildings and Construction Services has been issued 14 public safety violations over the past two years, including eight violations for hazardous conditions and numerous stop work orders, DOB officials said.
Two hardhats were critically injured and a third suffered massive critical injuries when a load of 1,200-pound laminated beams and bags of cement crashed through the roof and into the basement of a building at 31-25 28th Road in Astoria, FDNY Commissioner Daniel Nigro said. The materials had been lifted by a boom crane to the roof of the building several hours before the collapse.
Authorities said Hassan allowed workers to pile pallets of 1,200-pound laminated beams, bags of cement and cinder blocks on the third floor roof of the building on June 20, without obtaining a required inspection to determine if the structure could bear the weight.
Tom Hogan, DOB Dep. Commissioner of Enforcement, said construction sites must be inspected before heavy materials are delivered to upper levels. “Construction materials are supposed to be delivered to the ground floor, not on the roof,” Hogan said.
The collapse occurred at about 3:41 p.m., on June 20, briefly trapping a 37-year-old worker who managed to free himself moments later, Nigro said. Firefighters rescued a second, 41-year-old worker soon after. Both men were rushed to Elmhurst Hospital Center where they were listed in critical condition.
A third, 29-year-old worker was pinned for more than two hours under the debris, “from his face all the way to his ankles,” Nigro said. “Firefighters crawled into the debris to find the trapped worker. They administered IV drugs for crushing injuries, pain relief and kept the man stable as teams of other firefighters, medics and members of the NYPD Emergency Service Unit dug through thousands of pounds of materials to get him out,” Nigro explained.
Firefighters and ESU officers crawled through the rubble to stabilize the area as other firefighters dug a trench to try to reach the trapped worker. “Working under horrific conditions, these men were able to do things that no one else can do,” Nigro said.
A team of specially trained firefighters using hydraulic lifts pulled the man from the rubble at about 5:30 p.m., Nigro said. The worker was listed in very critical condition at Elmhurst Hospital Center.
Both the FDNY and the NYPD have ongoing investigations into the cause of the collapse, authorities said.
DOB investigators determined that the excessive weight on the third floor (roof) caused the collapse, and that Hassan was unable to adequately supervise the job site because he was juggling operation of more than 10 construction sites at the time of the collapse, well over the legal limit.
Ideal Building is facing a $23,000 fine and is prohibited from performing any construction work until the case comes before the city Office of Administrative Trials & Hearings, authorities said.
Federal agents at the Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) are also probing Ideal Buildings & Construction and ODW Carpentry in connection with the collapse. Both firms were targeted in other OSHA investigations within the past two years, authorities said.

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