CBS2 Exclusive: City Worker Injured Inside Ft. Totten Structure Previously Called ‘Safe’

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — A city worker fell through the floor of a crumbling old building in Queens.

The parks employee and his crew were sent in to clean after someone else decided the structure was safe.

The inside of the old building on the grounds of Fort Totten — a former U.S. Army site — has seen better days.

It’s now dilapidated and deserted.

New York City Department of Parks and Recreation employee Cory Credell said on Monday, he was asked to go inside and clean it up after the department’s health and safety team deemed the site safe for the job, CBS2’s Valerie Castro reported exclusively Tuesday night.

Once inside — wearing a paper mask he was given to protect his face — Credell said he knew it was trouble.

Animals had made the structure their home long ago.

“When we got in there, the feces was like past your ankle,” he said.

Credell began to sweep the floors, but the weak structure gave way and he fell through.

“The pain was excruciating, I was screaming at the top of my lungs. My coworkers came running in, they were scared,” he said.

The Fire Department came to pull Credell out after the fall.

“I hurt my lower back, my middle back, and my neck,” he said.

Credell is being evaluated by doctors for potential nerve damage.

The New York City Park Advocates — a watchdog group — said Credell was put on a dangerous job and his injuries could have been prevented.

“That angers me a whole lot. They didn’t have the human compassion to shut it down,” he said.

A spokesperson for the department issued a statement saying, “Safety is NYC Parks’ first priority. While no major injuries were sustained yesterday at Fort Totten, we are reevaluating and reinforcing our safety procedures on this project.”

The parks employee said he doesn’t know when doctors will give him the okay to go back to work.


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