One worker is dead and three others were injured after a scaffold collapsed in Manhattan, just blocks away from the site of a four-story building collapse earlier in the day, officials said.
According to FDNY officials, the scaffolding set up on East 36th Street near Lexington Avenue collapsed just before 4:30 p.m. Thursday. The city's Department of Buildings and Office of Emergency Management were notified of the incident, in which a worker was killed and three others were injured as they were finishing their workday. It did not appear that any pedestrians were hurt.
According to the DOB, the workers were restoring parts of the facade at the time of the collapse. A piece of the facade of 136 East 36th, a residential building, came crashing down onto the scaffold. Debris was left littered about the area after the molding fell all the way from near the top of the building, and the nearby intersection was blocked off.
Neighbors described the sound of the plummeting facade hitting the sidewalk shed as an explosion.
A woman who lived in the Murray Hill building said work had been work ongoing on the upper floors for some time, before it was halted during the COVID pandemic shutdown. She said equipment had been on the roof and it was in the process of being taken down when the incident occurred.
The scaffold collapse came just about two blocks away from the site of multiple collapses at a vacant four-story building, where emergency personnel had responded to twice earlier on Thursday.
The FDNY was first called to a vacant building at 211 East 34th Street shortly before 11 a.m. for a reported collapse on the fourth floor. Surrounding properties were evacuated as a precaution; no injuries were immediately reported.
Later, around 2:15 p.m., the FDNY confirmed a secondary collapse. The city said all lanes of East 34th Street between Second and Third avenues were closed. Next-door buildings were again evacuated out of an abundance of caution.
The DOB is also investigating. It says there was an ongoing excavation operation at the property next door in preparation for a new 35-story building, though it wasn't immediately clear if that had anything to do with the collapse.
It's the second reported collapse in the city in 48 hours. On Tuesday, one wall of a multi-story home in Brooklyn caved into a next-door alleyway, spewing debris and causing major damage but no injuries. Nearby homes were also evacuated.
Causes of each of the collapses remain under investigation.