With heavy rainfall hitting New York City all day Tuesday after the effects of Hurricane Florence, workers at the construction site where a 47-year-old worker was killed in Sunset Park last week continued their daily tasks even after the incident.
The deadly incident occurred at about 1:30 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 12, when the fire department responded to a wall collapse at a construction site at 714 39th Street. While several workers escaped serious injury, rescuers were unable to help one construction worker who was trapped under the rubble. Fire officials were not able to get to the worker until Thursday, after a heavy downpour made the rescue efforts more hazardous.
The worker was identified as, Luis Almonte, an immigrant worker from the Dominican Republic who lived in the Bronx.
The site was owned by 348 37th St. LLC and has two contractors, Ground Sky City Builders Corp. and WSC Group LLC in Brooklyn. KCP contacted both contractors, WSC Group LLC refused to comment and Ground Sky Builders Corp, which is located in Yonkers, directed all the questions to their lawyer.
According to the Department of Buildings (DOB), the work site had no prior violations or unsafe work conditions.
At the 72nd Precinct monthly meeting last week, City Council Member Carlos Menchaca (D-Sunset Park, Red Hook) spoke out about the incident that took place in the district, “When we think about all the workers who have died on construction sites in the city, they are Latino, they are immigrants. A lot of them are undocumented and they’re being forced to work in unsafe conditions. And that needs to stop,” Menchaca said.
“This is no longer going to be one of those things where it’s just “part of business.” These collapses happen, and (the contractors) get a small little slap on the wrist and a fine. We’re being very tough, we’ll actually be shutting down sites to make sure that everything’s safe and they might not be able to get a DOB permit ever again.”
Assembly Member Felix Ortiz (D-Sunset Park, Red Hook) said the construction site tragedy demonstrates the need for better controls and supervision over worksites.
“There are currently six major construction sites in the 51st Assembly district. These sites must be deemed safe for workers, local residents in adjoining and nearby buildings, pedestrians and vehicular traffic alike,” said Ortiz.
“I am asking the Mayor to direct city agencies, including the Department of Buildings, NYPD and FDNY to investigate all the local construction sites and to let the public know that they are safe or that remedial actions is necessary. I am also asking the District Attorney to look into the accident that took the life of Luis Almonte’s at the 714 39th street site this week. Safety must always be our paramount concern.”