What to Know
- A load of materials placed atop a building under renovation in Astoria collapsed, falling to the ground floor and trapping three people
- Two people suffered critical injuries, including the man who was rescued hours later; a third person was seriously hurt
- Two construction companies were permitted to work at the site; one said the incident didn't involve their workers, the other was unreachable
A crane dropped a materials load into a renovation site in Queens on Tuesday afternoon, injuring three construction workers, including two critically, fire officials said.
Dozens of firefighters descended on a two-story brownstone on 28th Road, between 31st and 33rd streets, in Astoria just before 4 p.m.
"It was just a big explosion," said Astoria resident Marianna O'Neill. "It was loud and it was long."
A 37-year-old construction worker who managed to get out of the building on his own was transported to a hospital with serious injuries.
A 40-year-old construction worker was seen being pulled from the building on a stretcher shortly after 4 p.m. He or she appeared to be conscious but had critical injuries, officials said.
Around 5:30 p.m., firefighters were still working to free a 28-year-old construction worker who was trapped under "a few thousand pounds of construction materials in the basement of the building," FDNY Commissioner Daniel Nigro said at a press conference, adding that the man's legs were under 1,200-pound beams.
Firefighters and medics entered the basement to try to help the man and free him. The medics were able to reach him and give him IV drugs for his crushing injuries and pain relief.
"It's a very delicate operation to hold up the material while they gently pull the gentleman out from under it. That's why these things take some time," Nigro said.
The ground floor of the building appeared to be covered in heavy debris — bricks, concrete, boards and other objects. Some of the firefighters formed a sort of bucket brigade to remove the debris through a narrow hole.
"We used spreaders, cutters, saws — every tool we have on our rig, we used today," FDNY Lt. Fred Ill said.
The 28-year-old man was removed well over an hour after the collapse in critical condition. He was conscious and moving his arms, officials said.
"[He] was pinned from his face down to his ankle horizontally by numerous wood and planks," Ill said.
All three of the construction workers were taken to Elmhurst Hospital.
"Today was a beautiful example of people who are willing to risk their lives to save this 28-year-old individual," Nigro said.
Fire officials said that neither a crane nor a crane boom collapsed. They said a load of materials that had been placed on the roof of the building for renovation collapsed, falling all the way to the ground floor or basement. A large hole could be seen in the roof of the building.
The building is in the process of being converted from a two-family house to a three-family house, according to the Dept. of Buildings database.
Two construction companies were permitted to work at the site, records show. One of them, JSK Construction Corp., told News 4 New York the incident did not involve them or their workers. The second, Ideal Builders and Construction of Richmond Hill, has not been reachable by phone.
The Dept. of Buildings says cranes are not supposed to put equipment on a roof unless an engineer approves it. It's unclear whether or not an engineer gave that approval.