A wall that collapsed at a construction site in Bed-Stuy, Brooklyn near the border with Williamsburg today, killing 19-year-old Fernando Venegas and seriously injuring two others, was repeatedly reported to city officials as unstable and hazardous in the year since an old building was torn down at the site, Department of Buildings (DOB) records show.
A wall that collapsed at a construction site in Bed-Stuy, Brooklyn, on Thursday around noon — killing a young worker [19-year-old Fernando Venegas] and [seriously] injuring two more — was repeatedly reported to city officials as unstable and hazardous in the year since an old building was torn down at the site, Department of Buildings (DOB) records show.
Most recently, a civilian filed a complaint in regard to an unstable construction wall at 656 Myrtle Avenue (located in upper Bed-Stuy, near Williamsburg and Clinton Hill).
“Barrier was not stable,” the anonymous person complained on May 11, 2015. “I have taken pictures.”
The same person complained that construction workers, who weren’t wearing masks or suits on the “asbestos abatement site,” appeared to be endangered.
The complaint was referred to the NYC Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), according to the DOB.
Patch has reached out to both departments for more information on their actions in response to the complaint. We’ll update when we hear back.
The owner of 656 Myrtle is listed in city documents as Chaim Green of Binyan Myrtle, LLC.
A man who answered Green’s phone on Thursday afternoon would not say whether he was Green, or whether he knew Green.
“You have the wrong number, OK? Thank you,” the man said before hanging up.
When reached by phone, a female representative for Avishay I. Mazor, the structural engineer listed on the construction permits, would not give her name.
“I have no information,” she said. ”I just know that a wall collapsed.”
“We designed it,” she said of the construction project. ”We’re not the inspecting engineers.” When asked what type of building was planned for 656 Myrtle, she said: ”I can’t speak to that.”
The two surviving injured workers reportedly have serious head injuries but are expected to survive.
The Daily News reported the excavation at the site was improperly done:
…"The earth was removed from beneath that one-story masonry wall,” said Department of Buildings Commissioner Rick Chandler. “That's a recipe for a wall to collapse, and unfortunately that's the tragedy that happened.”…
FDNY Chief John Rozas said three adjoining buildings were in jeopardy of collapse.
"They were underpinning a foundation, it looks like, and they didn't have it supported properly and the bottom of the wall kicked out and the top tumbled down," Rozas said.
Chandler said permits were issued in July to build a new five-story residential structure on the site.
The city Buildings Department had issued a stop-work order on the building almost a year ago. When a permit was granted for the new work, the stop-work order was vacated.
“The good thing is: People had taken out permits and done the right thing to repair the building,” Chandler said. “That's what we like to see. Unfortunately, it appears they took more of a risk than they should have doing this excavation.”…
The New York Post notes the site had repeated complaints, violations and citations:
…Public records show eight complaints lodged against the property since August 2014, including citations for unlicensed plumbing work, construction without a permit, and questionable structural integrity due to a leaning parapet.