After a brownstone under renovation in Queens pancaked onto three workers on Tuesday afternoon, the victims are in recovery and expected to survive.
First responders worked tirelessly for two hours to reach two of the trapped men. The third, a 37-year-old, was able to free himself from the rubble.
All three men are currently hospitalized at Elmhurst Hospital with serious injuries, but firefighters say they are “lucky to be alive.”
The collapse in Astoria started when a crane unloaded heavy construction material onto the roof of the building. The materials collapsed through the roof and through each floor in a chain reaction.
The first man rescued was 40-year-old Salvador Velazquez, who was working on the third floor when the roof caved in on him, burying him in concrete and metal.
It took firefighters another hour to pull Baljinder Singh out from the basement, as his legs were under 1,200-pound beams. According to FDNY Lt. Fred Ill, he was pinned from his face down to his ankle horizontally by numerous wood and planks.
When they finally released him, Singh was conscious and immediately given IV drugs.
"He's got multiple fractures—fractures of his leg, his pelvis. He’s in a neck collar," said Daniel Minc, Singh’s attorney, as his client underwent surgery.
Though suffering, Singh, a man from India and his family’s sole bread winner, is just “grateful to be alive,” according to his attorney.
The brownstone, located on 28th Street, was in the process of being converted from a two-family house to a three-family house, according to the Dept. of Building’s database.
Investigators at the scene are still working to determine if the accident could have been prevented.
Typically, cranes are not supposed to put equipment on a roof unless an engineer approves it. While it’s unclear whether or not an engineer gave that approval, the Dept. of Buildings has slapped the general contractor with two violations for “failure to safeguard" the site. The DOB also ordered all work to stop immediately.