City probe into toddler’s death brings arrest, DOB changes

2-year-old girl died in May after being struck by debris from UWS building
November 19, 2015 10:33AM

An investigation into the death of a young girl struck by falling debris from an Upper West Side building has seen the arrest of a professional engineer and changes at the Department of Buildings.

Department of Investigations Commissioner Mark Peters noted “wholesale breakdowns in enforcement of public safety from just about everyone” in his agency’s investigation into the May death of Greta Greene – a 2-year-old who was sitting on a bench with her grandmother outside a West End Avenue senior citizens’ residence when bricks and terracotta fell down from the building. Greene was killed while her grandmother was injured.

The DOI’s report outlines multiple failures to catch dangerous conditions at the Esplanade Manhattan at 305 West End Avenue, according to the New York Observer. Those failures include an engineer who signed off on a safety report without ever visiting the building, DOB employees who didn’t take action after a consultant inspecting a neighboring building alerted them to a “scary” crack in the building’s façade, and bricks having fallen from the façade months earlier.

The engineer, 55-year-old Masqsood Faruqi, of Jackson, N.J., has been charged by Manahattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance’s office with one count of offering a false instrument for filing. He could face up to four years in prison.

“If any of these people had done what they were supposed to do, we might have had a different outcome,” Peters said.

Construction accidents and deaths are up considerably over last year. In March, a 37-year-old Keller Williams agent was killed when plywood ripped from fencing at Rudin Management’s Greenwich Lane site and struck her, fatally slamming her into a wall. [NYO] — Rey Mashayekhi