IS 201 waited two hours to call 911 after wall crashed in

Back to school: Three days after a wall collapsed in a crowded fourth-floor classroom, students return to Dyker Heights’ IS 201 to take their state math exams on April 23.
The Brooklyn Paper
Share on TwitterTweet
Share on Facebook

Don’t miss our updates:

You can mark them tardy.

Officials at IS 201 waited two hours before calling 911 after a wall collapsed into a Dyker Heights classroom on April 20, according to an fire department incident report obtained by this paper.

Two windows came loose from a wall at 11:15 am and came crashing down into a fourth-floor classroom just moments after a teacher rushed kids into the hallway, but the school didn’t call 911 until after 1 pm, the report said.

“FD members were informed the window had collapsed at approximately 1115 hours [11:15 am] and FD units did not receive a response ticket until 1312 hours [1:12 pm],” an incident report from the fire department states.

The school’s principal down-played the two-hour lapse, according to a recording provided by a parent who attended a closed meeting with the school’s parent-teacher association on April 27.

“We evacuated all the classrooms — not just the right side of the building — all of the classrooms into the third auditorium and the fifth floor gym,” principal Robert Ciulla said. “Again, that took time. By the time I did that and turned around, the Fire Department was on scene.”

A Department of Education spokesman ignored a request for comment on the late 911 call, instead replying “students were moved from the room, their parents were immediately contacted, and DOE officials were on site inspecting the damage.”

But parents of kids in that classroom said the school never alerted them either. Of the dozen parents this paper spoke with, none said they got a call from the school after the window caved in on April 20.

Deeper issues

School officials weren’t the only ones to drop the ball. The fire department report blamed the contractor, Triton Structural Concrete, which was fixing exterior masonry and replacing windows, for the collapse.

“Our investigation revealed that the fastening straps of most every window under rehab had its supporting straps cut and NO temporary fastenings were in place,” the report states. “The scene in room 407 could have been tragic.”

Nearly 30 classrooms and more than 50 windows were compromised to some extent, according to the report.

“These defects ran the gamut from plaster work covering recent cracks … to numerous cracks around windows to windows literally pulling out from the structure of the walls,” the report states.

A manager at the San Diego-based Triton Structural Concrete declined to comment.

“The incident is under investigation and that’s the only comment we have at this time,” said operations manager Steve Levan.

The company has several contracts with the city, and the Schools Construction Authority alone paid the company more than $6 million for 37 capital improvement projects in 2015, according to the comptroller’s Checkbook NYC data portal.

Triton also replaced sections of Coney Island’s wooden Boardwalk with concrete from 2010 to 2012, according Parks Department officials.

Ciulla told parents that “not one student was in harm’s way on that day April 20,” but a parent whose child was in the classroom just prior to the collapse said the confluence of shoddy construction, a ham-handed emergency response, and refusal to immediately evacuate the building put their kids in serious danger.

“From 11 am to 3 pm, they risked these kids’ lives,” said Maria Mancini, whose son was in the room moments before the collapse.

Reach reporter Max Jaeger at or by calling (718) 260–8303. Follow him on Twitter @JustTheMax.
Updated 10:17 pm, July 9, 2018
Today’s news:
Share on TwitterTweet
Share on Facebook

Don’t miss our updates:

Reasonable discourse

Rusty from Dyker Heights says:
The bows in the picture were not made from the police tape left from the window incident. They were made after the tragic deaths of PO Liu & PO Ramos by a caring parent Maryann Maginnis .
April 30, 2015, 6:31 am
adolfo from brooklyn says:
I was in the school very worried.
May 6, 2015, 4:51 pm
Troll Finder from Bay Ridge says:
Hi Troll Now you are adolfo in the school, nice one filthy troll, you look like you were tanned in smokehouse and left out to shrivel in the sun and then fell into old troll-no one loves you!!!
May 11, 2015, 3:27 pm
Mike.M from BayRidge says:
This is such a shock to read about, I suppose my question is why didn't the school contact the parents of the children in the class room like they said they did? Sounds to me like they are trying to cover their behinds!
May 14, 2015, 3:54 am
Mike.M from BayRidge says:
I attend this school many years ago and if there's one thing I know, its that the staff doesn't always follow proper procedures and etiquette like they claim they do.
May 14, 2015, 4:01 am
Johnathan Romero from Dyker Heights says:
I agree with Mike, I don't know why the school didn't get in contact with the parents to notify them of whats happening in school. It took two hours for them just to even call 911, that's sad.
May 14, 2015, 4:44 am
Johnathan Romero from Dyker Heights says:
What if more windows came crashing down? Being that the school did not call the cops only until 2 hours later someone could have gotten seriously hurt within that time.
May 14, 2015, 5:40 am
Troll Finder from Dyker Troll Patrol says:
HA Ha You old Troll, anyone can tell it is you posting all this nonsense, You are pathetic , your rage is misdirected, the school will be standing and operating long after you and your roadmap face are forgotten!!
May 14, 2015, 9:02 pm
briana from bensonhurst says:
i was in school when that happened. we were all told to get up and go to the gym no one notified us of what happened and we were being yelled at by teachers to be quiet. it was just chaotic and the teachers all seemed frightened.
Nov. 3, 2016, 5:50 pm
Anonymous from Dyker height says:
This school is abusive all the teachers are disrespectful to the students especially when that happened including Ms. Mathew.
March 26, 2017, 9:15 pm

Comments closed.

First name
Last name
Your neighborhood
Email address
Daytime phone

Your letter must be signed and include all of the information requested above. (Only your name and neighborhood are published with the letter.) Letters should be as brief as possible; while they may discuss any topic of interest to our readers, priority will be given to letters that relate to stories covered by The Brooklyn Paper.

Letters will be edited at the sole discretion of the editor, may be published in whole or part in any media, and upon publication become the property of The Brooklyn Paper. The earlier in the week you send your letter, the better.

Keep it local!

Stay in touch with your community. Subscribe to our free newsletter: