Construction worker falls to death at Brooklyn Heights construction site

construction worker death at 124 columbia heights
A construction worker fell to his death at a Brooklyn Heights Construction site on Feb. 11. The ten-story building, seen here before construction began, is set to open this spring.
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A construction worker died after falling several stories at a worksite in Brooklyn Heights on Friday morning.

Police and emergency personnel responded to the call at 10:21 am, and found the man lying unconscious on a second-floor terrace, according to the New York City Police Department. 

A notice filed with the city’s Department of Buildings said that the man had fallen from the roof of the ten-story building, though witnesses reported he had fallen from the eighth floor.

A construction worker onsite at the time said the man had not been wearing a harness at the time of the fall. The man’s name and identity are not yet available, pending notification of his family, according to police.

Billionaire financial entrepreneur Vincent Viola purchased the landmarked property, a former Jehovah’s Witness dormitory, for more than $100 million in 2016. Renovated as a luxury apartment building called The Torre House, the building is set to open to tenants this spring.

The property has several active construction permits for work ranging from plumbing and electrical to the installation of a temporary elevator. Since July 2020, 17 complaints about worker safety at the site have been filed with DOB and the city’s Office of Administrative Trials and Hearings. Three of those complaints were dismissed.

In November, construction company KBENY LLC was ordered to pay $10,000 for “failure to safeguard all persons and property affected by construction operations.” It was the second fine $10,000 fine issued for failure to maintain safety measures in six months. Other complaints alleged that there were not sufficient guardrails at the multiple-story site, and that vertical safety nets had not been installed. A stop work order was issued last April after multiple safety violations were reported, including failure to alert DOB of an injury on-site.

“My heart goes out to the loved ones of the deceased,” said local councilmember Lincoln Restler. “Like this tragedy, these avoidable deaths often include Latino workers at non-union construction sites. Our office will work to insure there is a rigorous investigation into what led to this death. If there was negligence, we will demand accountability.”