One dies after building collapses in Brighton Beach

It was a disaster zone as half of a five-story building under construction on Brighton Fifth Street collapsed, apparently under its own weight, on Tuesday afternoon, drowning five construction workers under a tsunami of debris.
Photo by Paul Martinka

Firemen were able to pull three construction workers from a pile of rubble when a portion of an under-construction building on Brighton Fifth Street collapsed on Tuesday afternoon, but one of the workers later died after suffering a heart attack during the ordeal.

The rescued men, who had been working on the five-story building, were quickly located and dug out by emergency personnel before being rushed to both Lutheran Medical Center and Coney Island Hospital, according to officials.

Two other workers were injured, but were able to make it out of the building on their own.

Firefighters and paramedics raced to the building between Neptune and Oceanview avenues at 2:30 pm, just moments after the afternoon calm on the quiet block was punctuated with the groan of the building struggling under its own weight.

“When the building collapsed I heard this loud sound, then it felt like an earthquake hit. You could feel the shock,” 12-year-old Mohammad Gondal, who lived a block away from the construction site, said. “When they were pulling people out of the rubble, their skin was all black, as if they had been burned.”

Department of Building inspectors were dispatched to the building — half of which remains intact — to find out what happened. Witnesses told reporters that the collapse took place after the construction crew poured concrete onto the building’s second and third floors.

Developers wanted to build a five-story residential building that would accommodate up to 14 families, according to city records.

Calls to the building developer were not returned by Tuesday evening.

— with Colin Mixson

Reach reporter Thomas Tracy at ttracy@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260-2525.

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