One killed, four injured in Fort Greene building collapse

Carlton Avenue building collapse stuns neighbors

Brooklyn Daily

A construction worker was killed and four others were injured — one seriously — on Monday morning when the Carlton Avenue building they were working on collapsed underneath them.

Department of Buildings officials said five workers were loading cinder blocks and other heavy materials onto the top of the still- under-construction project between DeKalb and Willoughby avenues when the floor gave way at 9:15 am — sending two workers plunging to the basement.

A 67-year-old worker who had not been identified by Monday afternoon was taken to the Brooklyn Hospital, where he died of his injuries. A second member of the construction crew was in serious condition at Kings County Hospital, an FDNY spokesman said.

Block residents said they heard a loud noise seconds before the building collapsed.

“I was having coffee when I heard a bam, bam, bam!” Said Joe Louis, who lives down the block from the construction site and said he always crosses the street instead of walking under the building’s scaffolding. “My nephew asked me if it was thunder, but I said no because it was so clear outside.”

The city Department of Buildings was still trying to find the exact cause of the collapse by Monday afternoon, but some residents say workers were rushing the job.

“Somebody really screwed up is my guess — the building wasn’t ready to hold the load,” said Tim Rutgers, an independent contractor who said he saw workers loading cinder blocks on the top of the under-construction row houses planned for the landmarked Fort Greene historic district. “Construction is a dangerous job, but with a brand new construction, that shouldn’t happen.”

Workers at the site agreed with Rutgers assessment.

“The load was to heavy, Ignatius Regis, a bricklayer working on the building told the New York Times. “I heard a big noise and I saw this guy go down.”

The Fire Department said that engines were on the scene two minutes after the 911 call was made, but that it took 20 minutes to extricate the two workers from the basement rubble.

Reach reporter Eli Rosenberg at erosenberg@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260-2531. And follow him at twitter.com/emrosenberg.

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