Monday, December 25, 2006

One Dead in Partial Collapse of 113th Street Building

Columbia Spectator

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One Dead in Partial Collapse of 113th Street Building
By Sara Vogel
Issue date: 12/26/06 Section: News

A construction worker died and two others were injured when the top floors of a 5-story gutted apartment building on West 113th Street collapsed at 12:30 p.m. on Tuesday.

Firefighters pulled the two survivors from the rubble and brought them to St. Luke's-Roosevelt Hospital, where they were in stable condition Tuesday evening. Burton Joseph, a 33-year-old African immigrant and Brooklyn resident, was dead when the fire department arrived at the building, which is located at 280 West 113th St. between Frederick Douglass Boulevard and Seventh Avenue.

The Neighborhood Partnership Housing Development Fund Company, which owns the building, and the South Harlem Development Corporation were in the process of renovating the building when it collapsed on the workmen.

A wall of the building was loose and in danger of falling, and the scaffolding protecting the sidewalk was "not adequately maintained," according to Department of Buildings' complaint records. Illegal work was being done at the property on the weekends as of Dec. 16, when a complaint was filed with the department.

The building also violated city health codes numerous times, according to Department of Housing Preservation and Development records.

Joseph was supporting a child, said his cousin Nesta Felix, who visited the scene in the evening. Felix said Joseph's mother had been contacted, but she said, "I don't think it's really hit her yet."

The owner of the building and the construction company working on the project could not be reached for comment.Check for updates on this developing story.

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