Collapse at Stellar’s Chinatown job site kills worker

New York City’s first industry fatality in 2023 came after resolved safety violations

A photo illustration of 126 Lafayette Street (Getty, Google Maps)
A photo illustration of 126 Lafayette Street (Getty, Google Maps)

A construction laborer died after a wall collapsed at a Chinatown job site in New York City’s first construction fatality this year.

The 64-year-old laborer was doing demolition work at 126 Lafayette Street on Tuesday afternoon when the incident occurred, The City reported. The identity of the worker has not been released.

Shortly after 1 p.m. on Tuesday, a floor that was likely overloaded collapsed, according to Department of Building officials; the agency is investigating. That collapse led the rear wall to fall, trapping the laborer under the rubble.

Three other workers were injured when they fell on top of the debris.

Firefighters were able to extract the 64-year-old from the pile and he was transferred to Bellevue Hospital with life-threatening injuries. The investigation into his death is ongoing.

The DOB issued five safety violations at the job site predating the accident, including one for an overloaded floor. Those violations had been resolved, though the department was still awaiting documentation to that effect.

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RJB Contracting Carting is the construction firm on the site and Stellar Management is the site owner. Neither has commented on the accident, according to the Tribeca Trib.

Stellar is planning a 25-story building with 105 units at the site.

The worker’s death triggered fears of another potential accident only blocks away at 158 Lafayette Street. A lawsuit filed one day after the accident cited inspectors’ discovery the rear wall of the six-story building was in danger of collapse. 

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From left: BTEA's Louis Coletti, Assembly member Rodneyse Bichotte Hermelyn and Sen. James Sanders Jr. (Getty; Illustration by Kevin Rebong for The Real Deal)
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