A woman was killed Thursday by debris that fell from Queens strip mall, marking the second façade-related fatality in the city over the last month.
The 67-year-old woman, who has not yet been publicly identified by authorities, was struck by a piece of building material that fell from the Golden Shopping Mall at 41-28 Main Street in Flushing, city officials confirmed.
An aluminum-covered plywood panel fell off the front of the building, according to the city’s Department of Buildings. A representative for the agency said engineers and inspectors are still on site, “conducting a thorough investigation of the entire building, to ensure that there is no further danger to the public.” The agency has ordered the building’s owner to immediately erect a sidewalk shed.
Department of Finance records indicate that Kam Kee Realty purchased the strip mall in 2001, though the price is not included in deed documents. Ian Cheng, who is listed as the owner of Kam Kee in DOB filings, didn’t return messages seeking comment.
The hall reportedly closed this past summer for renovations. According to DOB’s website, a stop work order was issued at the property in August for unauthorized construction.
“Such a horrific tragedy should never happen to anyone who is simply walking down the sidewalk, and it is a clear example of why building owners and city agencies need to ensure building facades are safe, especially during periods of high winds,” Queens Council member Peter Koo said in a statement. “I have called for the city to shut down the building until there is a greater understanding of this building’s safety and scaffolding is in place.”
The incident comes just one month after a piece of fallen façade struck and killed architect Erica Tishman. Her death spurred a series of changes to DOB enforcement. The agency announced that in cases where a façade’s condition is deemed “immediately hazardous,” DOB will conduct follow-up inspections within 60 days to ensure that proper protection — such as a sidewalk shed or netting — has been installed. If not, city contractors will be sent to perform the work at the owner’s expense. The agency will then perform a follow-up inspection after 90 days to ensure the protection is still in place and that work has commenced to correct the issue. A City Council oversight hearing is scheduled for later this month to discuss further enforcement actions.