On January 8, 2013, NY1 reported that a ceiling collapsed in a historic building in Manhattan’s Murray Hill section. The building was undergoing renovations at the time of the collapse. Unfortunately, this is not the first incident of a ceiling collapse in recent years, but it is the most recent example of the potential dangers presented by older buildings throughout the city.

Our New York City injury attorneys wish a speedy recovery for those injured in the Murray Hill ceiling collapse. We are also concerned that the aging of many buildings in the New York City area could be increasing the risks faced by tenants and guests.

The Murray Hill Ceiling Collapse

The Murray Hill ceiling collapse occurred at around 1:40 PM in the historic building, once a Touro College building, located at 160 Lexington Ave and 30 th Street. The workers were on a scaffold on the third floor, at work on the building’s renovations. Unfortunately, the ceiling gave way and came down on the workers.

The New York Fire Department Chief indicated to NY1 that the collapsing ceiling was a 20-foot by 20-foot section and that the ceiling likely weighed approximately 15 to 20 pounds per square foot. The weight of the ceiling came down on the workers, and fire officials had to seek assistance from a special unit in order to free one of the workers trapped in the debris.

In total, three of the workers who were on the scaffolding were injured by the collapse. All three men were taken to a nearby medical center. One of the three had suffered only minor injuries, but the other two workers were more seriously injured. The man who had been trapped under the debris was in serious condition and the third man had suffered a serious head wound.

Aging Historical Sites Creates Risk of Collapse

This ceiling collapse in the historic Murray Hill building is not the first to occur in the greater Manhattan area in recent years. The New York Daily News reported that a Historic church in Brooklyn’s Park Slope also recently experienced a partial ceiling cave-in when chunks of plaster began falling from the ceiling last fall. The building was constructed in 1891 and the cost of repairing the sanctuary is estimated at as much as $1.5 million dollars.

The Park Slope Church and the Touro College building that is being restored are part of the history of New York City and are buildings that are worthy of restoring and fixing, as are many other historic buildings in the area. Unfortunately, many of the most beautiful buildings in the city are now reaching 100+ years old and are starting to show their age. Many of these buildings were built before modern building codes and are not up to modern building standards. While they need to be preserved and modernized, they present a risk if they age without being properly updated.

Older buildings can create a danger for people who visit or live in them. They can also present risks to construction workers called in to do much needed restorations, as the collapse of the Murray Hill building shows. Those who own these older buildings, therefore, need to be watchful for warning signs. Workers who are consulted to do renovation work should always proceed carefully with an understanding of the risks that old buildings create.

If you or a loved one has suffered an injury due to a ceiling collapse or other construction site injury in New York, contact Queller, Fisher, Washor, Fuchs & Kool at 212-406-1700.

Posted in: Utility Injuries