OMG THE HORROR CONTINUES!!!!!!!!!!!!!
August 23, 2007
At least two firefighters were injured this afternoon when construction equipment being used at the Deutsche Bank building fell to the ground, hours after crews began doing remedial work on the building following Saturday’s deadly fire.
The Empire State Development Corporation said that around 2:15 p.m. a pallet jack fell from the 23rd floor of the building and struck a temporary shed. The two firefighters were injured as they were walking in the safety perimeter around the building.
All work on the site has been halted and all workers have been removed from the site.
Sources tell NY1 that the construction equipment likely fell from an outside elevator or hoist that was carrying it up the north side of the building.
The firefighters were taken to Saint Vincent's Medical Center – one with head injuries. The other is said to have sustained minor injuries. They are both said to be in stable condition.
Preliminary reports indicated that several construction workers were also injured, but that information has not been confirmed.
Demolition work at the WTC site skyscraper was suspended after the tragic fire that killed firefighters Robert Beddia and Joseph Graffagnino on Saturday, but remedial work began this morning on the south side of the building between the 20th and 26th floors to remove debris and contain toxic material inside the building to make the site safe.
Residents in the area have long complained about the safety of the site.
"The building probably should have come down at least three years ago, but because of money and insurance it has remained,” said neighborhood resident Andy Jurinko. “I live probably 75 feet from the Deutsche bank. I go in and out of the entrance way every day, walking past the Deutsche Bank… It has been treacherous. It's been a disastrous area for the last six years."
Earlier today, residents who live near the building were advised to keep their windows closed while the remedial work was being performed.
A spokesman for the ESDC said crews began work this morning to make the site safe.
E-mails and calls were put out to residents advising them to close their windows in case of flying debris. The ESDC says people should not be concerned about air quality.
Before any work could begin, crews had to receive clearance from the Fire Department and the Department of Buildings because a stop-work order is still in effect, meaning demolition cannot take place. Before today’s incident, remedial work was expected to go on for several days.
Nearby residents say they've become accustomed to these types of problems living in the area.
"It's just a little inconvenience,” said one resident. “We can't drive through the neighborhood, and we’ve got to go through the checkpoints. But other than that, there's really no problems at all.”
“It's not too bad. I have to come in the back door, which isn't too difficult,” added another. “The only annoying thing is there's no access to the front. But other than that, it's not too bad."
The investigation into what caused Saturday's blaze continues. FDNY records show that the last time a comprehensive inspection was done on the failed standpipe system was back in March of 2005. According to department regulations, standpipes in buildings being demolished are to be inspected every 15 days.
The city has also admitted that it did not have a plan to fight a fire in the building, even though one is required to stay up to code.
The sub-contractor in charge of demolition has been fired. The John Galt Company was declared in default of its contract by the site's contractor.
The city says the building had a history of violations from the Department of Buildings, including several fines this year for failure to properly remove combustible material and debris.
The Manhattan district attorney's office and the state attorney general are both investigating the fire.