18, No. 24
Dec. 15 - 28, 2005
Worker Falls To Death in Bedford
By JAMES FERGUSSON
At approximately 2 p.m. on Dec. 7, a construction worker fell
five stories to his death while working on a Bedford Park apartment
The 29-year-old, who the city Medical Examiner’s office identified as
Mohammad Nadeem, was apparently replacing brickwork above a window when he
fell from scaffolding inside the courtyard of 2985 Botanical Square.
He landed on concrete and was pronounced DOA at St. Barnabas Hospital,
according to police reports. Grace Brugess, a spokesperson for the city
Medical Examiner’s office, said his death has been ruled an accident and
gave the cause as blood trauma to the head and neck.
Police said the man fell from a makeshift scaffold, but weren’t releasing
any more details at this time. When the Norwood News visited the
building the next day, the scaffolding had been removed, although work was
continuing at the site with workers wheelbarrowing rubble into a dumpster on
Two men, a tenant and a delivery man, said workers had been using suspension
scaffolding. “Yesterday [Dec.7] they had like three scaffolds and ropes
everywhere, now there’s nothing. It’s all been taken down,” said the
delivery man, who requested anonymity.
According to the Department of Buildings, which visited 2985 Botanical
Square several hours after the incident, no permit had been issued for any
building work, but neither did the Department find evidence that one was
necessary. “By the time we got to the building, there was no evidence or
activity,” said spokesperson Ilyse Fink.
As with all workplace deaths, OSHA (the federal Occupational Safety and
Health Administration) is investigating the incident. However, because the
case has been opened, John Chavez, an OSHA spokesperson, couldn’t provide
The building is owned by Pinnacle, a company that has been the subject of
several recent articles in the Norwood News because it has bought many Bronx
buildings where tenants accuse the company of trying to force them out so
Pinnacle can charge higher rents.
Mike Radoncic, a Pinnacle project manager, confirmed a man had died at the
Botanical Square building but didn’t want to comment on what exactly
happened because the work had been contracted out and he wasn’t present at
the time of the incident. By the time he got to the scene, about 45 minutes
after the accident, Nadeem had been taken to the hospital. When asked
whether the company should have applied for a building permit, Radoncic was
”For this work there was no need for a permit,” he said. Sarwar
Construction, the firm Nadeem had been working for, could not be reached for
comment by press time.
Several tenants of Pinnacle buildings in Manhattan,
however, say the company often skimps on permitting. “They photocopy permits
from one apartment and then slap it on another,” said Marge Charron, a
resident of 706 Riverside Dr., during a meeting of Pinnacle tenants in
Harlem earlier this month.
Charron says she recently saw a permit outside an apartment for wall
stripping, but upon inspection, saw much more extensive work under way.
“They were actually renovating it,” she said.
Other tenants at the meeting — which was organized by a new coalition
against Pinnacle’s practices — also had concerns about permitting. “There
are often unlicensed people doing work without a permit [in my building],”
said Debbie Brown, a resident of 700 Riverside Dr.
Additional reporting by Heather Haddon.
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