Bayside man dies working on high-rise

A 25-year-old iron worker from Bayside became the 13th construction industry fatality in New York City this year, when an equipment failure sent him plunging nine floors at an Upper East Side high-rise.
Kevin Kelly was installing windows on the 23rd floor of the Laurel, a luxury condo at 400 East 67th Street on Monday, April 14.
Shortly before 10:30 a.m., a “ceiling strap” attached to his safety harness pulled loose from the building and he fell to his death on a 14th floor balcony below.
Kelly, a graduate of Benjamin N. Cardozo High School, was single and lived with his family on Springfield Boulevard in Bayside.
His father, Richard, a retired construction worker said, “I was proud of him, because he was a great iron worker.”
Kelly’s boss, Anthony D’Amato, owner of New York Windows, reportedly witnessed the fall. He collapsed with chest pains and was taken to the hospital, according to New York City Department of Buildings (DOB) Commissioner Patricia Lancaster, who responded to the scene soon after the accident.
“We are very focused on safety,” Lancaster said. “Construction companies, owners, architects and engineers have to obey the law.”
“We will be holding the individuals responsible for this terrible tragedy accountable,” she insisted.
Local City Councilmember Jessica Lappin, of Manhattan seemed unconvinced. “The real question here is whether the buildings department is doing its job,” she said.
Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer said he was “outraged” by the numerous building violations the site had collected since the project first began, calling the project “a recipe for disaster.”
“We need soup-to-nuts, top-to-bottom inspections,” Stringer insisted, saying “The DOB is endangering workers.”
The sense of outrage is apparently shared by the local community. DOB records show that 56 complaints have been registered against the site, sometimes within minutes of each other.
In the wake of the crane collapse on Saturday, March 15, which killed seven people not far away, numerous crane-related complaints were called in for the 67th Street site. They were declared unfounded.
The various contractors on the project have been issued numerous violations, even before demolition of the previous structure began.
The owners were first cited for not providing sufficient protection for the building next door. The demolition company left glass in the windows after they started tearing down the building.
Civetta Cousins, the Bronx company that excavated for the foundation was cited multiple times for not having a safety manager on site.
Most of the construction violations were considered severe, including torn or missing safety netting and materials unsafely stored. Some, however were technical violations (such as an expired permit) and corrected within hours.
Alexico Group, the developer of the condominium, released a statement following the accident, expressing its deepest sympathies to Kelly’s family.
The statement also expressed support for the builder, Hunter Roberts Construction Group, saying, “Construction safety is our utmost concern and we believe that the construction manager, Hunter Roberts, has a good safety record. We will cooperate fully with the city’s investigation of this tragic event.”
All the outrage and promises are faint comfort for the grief-stricken family.
“This shouldn’t happen,” Kelly’s cousin Anthony Natale, 41 reportedly said. “We want a comprehensive investigation.”

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