Family of Ridgewood man killed in Manhattan synagogue collapse seeks legal recourse

Photo by Todd Maisel

The family of a Ridgewood worker who died in a construction site wall collapse in Manhattan on Monday has retained a lawyer and is claiming state regulations were ignored, resulting in the death of Stanislaw Supinski and injury of another man.

While demolition work was being done on an historic synagogue at 60 Norfolk St. on the Lower East Side around 10 a.m. on Oct. 21, up to three floors of 160-year-old brickwork came down on Supinski. He was rushed to NewYork-Presbyterian Downtown Hospital after the incident and later went into to cardiac arrest, according to FDNY.

According to an earlier report, FDNY was unsure why the workers were so close to the wall when it came down and other parts of the structure seemed unstable as well.

Slawomir Platta of The Platta Law Firm said in a press release that Supinski, a resident of Ridgewood, would still be alive if regulations were followed.

“In the wake of such tragedies, the first priority is to be there for a grieving family and ask if such a horrendous circumstance could have been prevented,” Platta said. “The State of New York has very specific regulations which are intended to keep workers safe. Yesterday, the system failed the Supinski family. We will do our best to hold the wrongdoers responsible for this unnecessary tragic accident.”

Permits for the demolition were issued to Titan Industrial Services. They declined to comment on Wednesday.

After posting a stop work order on the site, the Department of Buildings deemed that no other parts of the building posed any imminent danger.

A Buildings Department inspector combs through the debris. (Photo by Todd Maisel)

“[There is] no imminent danger of further collapse, although structural stability inspections conducted by the Department’s Forensic Engineering Unit are still ongoing,” a DOB official said.

The Beth Hamedrash Hagodol was a synagogue that had fallen into disrepair as the the Orthodox Jewish community had moved out of the Lower East Side. The building was in a derelict state for months with a green construction fence around the perimeter.

Originally built as a church in the Gothic revival architectural style in 1850, the building was later purchase in 1885 and converted to a synagogue.

Landmarked in 1967 as the oldest Russian Synagogue in the United States, the building was listed on the National Register of Historic Place in 1999, but officially closed in 2007.

A three alarm fire in 2017 put an end to any potential future use for the building.

Ira Smerkish, a former member of the synagogue congregation, said attempts were made to rescue the historic building but were ultimately unsuccessful because of a lack of funds.

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