NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — An 8-year-old girl was hit in the head by a falling piece of wood Friday morning in Queens.
Around 9:35 a.m., the wood came flying off a fourth floor fire escape in the courtyard of the family’s apartment building on 35th Avenue in Jackson Heights.
“We were going to have a family day in the park, and we ended up in the hospital,” the girl’s mother, Olga Piedrahita, told CBS2’s Dave Carlin.
Tatiana Devia, 8, was taken to the hospital in an ambulance after being struck by a wooden plank that’s bigger than her. She suffered a mild concussion and needed three staples to close the wound on her head.
“She was crying. She was terrified. She was lost,” witness Amine Zarbal said. “The guy was on top of the fire escape and he was just trying to hold it down from the fire escape all the way down here. The family was walking and they were trying to get in… If she was a little bit closer, and it would have came straight on her, it would’ve crushed her totally and she would’ve been completely dead. What happened is just like a side got her on the head.”
When the family returned home, they blamed workers renovating an empty apartment.
As Carlin reported, crews had been lowering planks of wood from the fire escape to the ground below. That’s when one of the pieces of plywood slipped from the rope and fell from roughly the third floor.
“Everything that’s being done in this building is being done wrong, completely wrong – there’s no hazard signs, no warning signs, nothing,” Piedrahita said.
At least one of the men lowering the boards fled the scene, Carlin reported. Witnesses said he ran off after the girl’s father became angry and threatened to fight him.
Police said the incident was deemed an accident.
By the afternoon, the Department of Buildings cited the contractor and issued a full stop work order, along with three violations, including failure to safeguard a construction site.
“Anybody else could have been killed or anything. My son is traumatized, he didn’t even want to come home,” said Piedrahita. “It’s just been a rough morning. And like I said, all I want is for nobody to go through this.”
As for Devia, she has to recover at home for a while before going back to school.
“She could go midweek, as long as she’s not having any headaches, vomiting or dizziness,” Piedrahita said.
The DOB’s investigation is ongoing.