2018-02-28 / Front Page

Girl, 8, Injured By Tossed Construction Debris

By Liz Goff
An 8-year-old Jackson Heights girl suffered serious injuries on February 23, when a worker tossed a wooden beam from the fourth floor of a construction site, striking her on the head.

Cops said the girl was walking to a local playground with her parents and younger brother at about 9:30 a.m. on February 23 when she was struck by the beam that fell from a building on 83 Street between 34th and 35th Avenues in Jackson Heights.

The girl’s mother, Olga Piedrahite, 29, told police she was walking outside the building when the girl suddenly fell to the ground. “The mom said she looked away for a minute, and when she looked back she saw the girl bleeding on the street,” a police source said. Piedrahite told police her husband “went crazy” when he saw the girl lying on the street bleeding profusely from her head. “There are no “danger” signs outside the building, no ropes to keep people away,” Piedrahite said.

The girl was alert and conscious when firefighters and an EMS crew arrived at the scene, a fire spokesperson said. She was taken to New York Presbyterian Weill-Cornell Medical Center, where doctors used three staples to close a gash wound on her head and treated her for other injuries.

Department of Buildings inspectors arrived at the scene shortly after the incident and issued a Stop Work Order for the project, citing “debris” that “fell from 4th floor construction.”

Complaints filed with DOB allege that workers toss debris from windows, and are working without required safety netting. A total of 13 complaints have been filed against the building owner over the past two years alleging a series of work and safety violations, according to the DOB website.

Neighbors said they have complained numerous times to the building owner and to 311 about workers tossing construction debris from the windows. “Everybody doesn’t knows it, but you have to be careful when you walk by here,” a neighbor said. “The construction workers, they don’t look, and they throw wood and stuff from the building all the time.”

The girl’s father told police he is angry that the worker who threw the wood saw his daughter and knew what was happening. “The father said the guy made eye contact with him and he saw what happened,” a police source said. “He said the guy ran away with the other workers. He didn’t even care what happened to her,” the source said.

The girl is expected to make a full recovery.

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