NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – One person was killed and another seriously injured when the interior of a building that was being demolished collapsed Friday morning.
The collapse took place at around 10:30 a.m. at 27 West 38th St. between Fifth and Sixth avenues.
“There was a loud bang and a loud crash,” a man named Jay, who was across the street at the time, told 1010 WINS’ Mona Rivera.
The seriously injured worker from Northeast Service Interiors was trapped in the building’s basement for three hours.
“All the floors and all the debris basically came down to a V, and he was right underneath the V. So pretty much the hardest part of the V collapse is where he was,” Hazmat Lt. Jonathan Negron said.
First responders had a full complement of hand tools and power tools, but ultimately decided not to use the power tools out of concern for carbon monoxide fumes in the confined space and noise interfering with communication with the trapped worker, CBS2’s Tony Aiello reported.
“He did describe that he was in pain. He wasn’t 100 percent lucid toward the end, but started to come back as we started to get him out,” NYPD Sgt. Michael Edwards said.
Rescuers were finally able to pull him from the debris Friday afternoon and rushed him to Bellevue Hospital.
Police said 19 workers were in the building at the time it collapsed.
Some 60 firefighters and representatives from the Department of Buildings responded to the scene.
“There’s been a lot of construction on this street,” Lesli Sunshine, who works in the area, told Aiello. “I mean, it’s just a crazy thing. It’s unbelievable.”
In a statement, president of the Building and Construction Trades Council of Greater New York, Gary LaBarbera, called the worker’s death “senseless and needless.”
“…Tragedies like this have become all too common as irresponsible developers and contractors increasingly put their bottom lines ahead of the safety of workers,” said LaBarbera. “Construction can be a dangerous occupation and we demand action to ensure all workers receive the same worksite protections and rigorous training our union workers receive.”
The collapse also forced West 38th Street to close, snarling traffic in the area. Click here to check current conditions.
The building was being demolished to make way for a new hotel development, Aiello reported.
What the workers were doing when the collapse happened is under investigation, WCBS 880’s Kelly Waldron reported.
The demolition had the proper permits. Work will stop until the city determines it can restart safely.