NEW YORK (Reuters) - A building undergoing demolition in New York partially collapsed on Friday, killing one construction worker and temporarily trapping another in the rubble, authorities said.
Some 65 firefighters responded to the collapse, which occurred at about 10:30 a.m. in the rear of a multistory building on West 38th Street in midtown Manhattan, a fire department spokesman said.
After three hours of digging, firefighters wielding pickaxes and saws freed the trapped man.
The man, to whom first-responders administered intravenous devices and other medical care while he was trapped underneath the collapse, was in serious but stable condition when loaded into an ambulance, officials said.
“For the void that he was in and the amount of debris, he’s very lucky,” New York City Fire Department Captain Dominic Bertucci, who worked to free the trapped workers, told reporters.
The deceased worker was being assessed by medical examiners at the scene.
Officials said 17 other construction workers who were inside the building when it began a v-shaped collapse managed to safely escape.
The building was being converted to the Aloft New York Midtown, a Starwood Hotels and Resorts Worldwide Inc hotel HOT.N, expected to open in May 2018, according to the company’s website.
“We are very saddened to hear media reports of the accident and our thoughts are with the family of the worker who was reported to have lost his life and with workers who were injured,” Starwood spokeswoman Ashley Chapman said.
Fortuna Realty Group, the developer that owns the building, did not immediately comment on the incident.
The owners of the New York City-based company performing the demolition work, Northeast Service Interiors, were at the site following the collapse, according to a company representative.
A spokesman with the city’s Department of Buildings said the site was issued a violation in August for excessive debris. It was fully permitted for demolition work, he said.
Police closed the street near the building while crews work to sift through the debris.
Reporting by Laila Kearney, Katie Reilly and Barbara Goldberg; Additional reporting by Suzannah Gonzales, Joseph Ax and Brendan McDermid; Writing by Joseph Ax; Editing by Bill Trott and Sandra Maler