On the morning of Monday, May 15, a group of construction workers in the north Bronx suffered burn wounds after materials at their job site ignited. According to local news, the incident took place just before 9 a.m. at a new building being constructed on Gun Hill Road in Williamsbridge. CBS News reports that this occurred in an underground area, where waterproofing work was being done; some waterproofing materials caught on fire, injuring four people.
Part of Gun Hill Road was closed off to traffic as fire officials, police vehicles, and paramedics arrived. One of the injured workers received treatment at the site, while the other three were transported to Jacobi Medical Center, located a few miles away. We hope that they all recover as quickly and painlessly as possible.
An FDNY spokesperson said the event did not meet the technical definition for a fire, and was therefore determined to be a workplace accident. Fire marshals began conducting a more detailed investigation, and the city issued a partial stop work order for the building.
Fires and Explosions in the Construction Industry
A history of safety violations has already been found for the Williamsbridge construction project. In just the past year, the city issued 25 violations for construction safety; 12 of them were still open at the time of the accident. Five new violations were issued on Monday for insufficient training and the non-compliant use of propane torches.
City officials informed CBS News in the summer of 2022 that the general contractor had illegally disobeyed a partial stop work order, putting laborers in conditions marked as unsafe. In addition to deficient training, there was a serious violation for improperly maintained safety equipment in an elevator machine room. Mark Stagg of BE Bronx Builders LLC was named in all of these violations; Mark Stagg is the CEO of Stagg Group, which owns thousands of units in the Bronx.
Every year, construction workers are harmed in preventable workplace accidents linked to fires and explosions. The National Fire Protection Association reported that between 2016 and 2020, approximately 4,300 fires per year resulted in local fire departments being called to construction sites. Tragically, these events caused an average of five deaths each year, as well as 62 injuries. As these statistics have seen an overall upward trend since 2014, better practices are undoubtedly required to keep workers safe.
Fires can have a number of different sources at job sites. Faulty electrical wiring, gas lines or tanks, pressurized chemicals, and acetylene all pose combustion risks. These risks are compounded when nearby objects are flammable. Consequently, a fire safety plan must cover the proper handling, inspection, and disposal of all hazardous materials.
Our Advocacy for Burn Injury Victims
After the harrowing experience of surviving a fire or explosion, next steps are often overwhelming to consider. However, it is helpful to know that a skilled construction accident attorney can maximize an injured person’s chances of obtaining the compensation owed to them by negligent parties. Our accomplished construction accident lawyers at Block O’Toole & Murphy have an unrivaled record, work ethic, and level of expertise in this field.
Some of our results for fire-related accidents include:
- $5,000,000 settlement for a worker burned by electric shocks after his jackhammer made contact with an unlabeled electric source
- $4,000,000 settlement for a worker who required skin grafts after suffering third-degree burns at a Bronx site
- $2,500,000 settlement for the victim of a car crash who was burned after the vehicle caught on fire
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