The tragic accident that happened on Thursday— where a and hit a woman and child, sending them to the hospital in serious condition— was due to poor building upkeep, according to the Department of Buildings.
At around 4:15 p.m., a 50-year-old woman and a 2-and-a-half-year-old boy she was babysitting were walking along Fifth Avenue and as they approached President Street, a 16-foot wide steel security gate detached from the Fifth Avenue Cat Clinic’s façade and hit them, an FDNY spokesman said.
According to a witness who was walking her dog across the avenue, Christine Castellano, the gate hit the woman in the head and crushed the baby’s leg.
According to the FDNY spokesman, they were sent to Lutheran Medical Center in serious condition.
A DOB spokeswoman said that the Fifth Avenue Cat Clinic’s security gate suddenly fell because the welding broke and the entire security gate, including the frame, detached from the storefront.
“The welds that hold the roll down gate to the façade failed due to poor maintenance,” a Department of Buildings spokeswoman said. “It was not properly maintained and the welds gave out.”
The spokeswoman said that although the DOB inspects security gates, the building’s owner is ultimately responsible for their upkeep.
“We issued a violation to the owner, 4G Reality LLC, for failing to maintain the building properly,” she said told Patch on Friday.
The owner of 4G Realty did not respond to multiple calls for comment from Patch.
The DOB said that the landlord will have to pay a penalty, after a court hearing with the Environmental Compliance Board, and bring the “property up to compliance.”
The fine will be determined after the ECB hearing.
In most cases, the DOB spokeswoman said, violations are upheld. However, the owner will be able to contest the citation if they believe they were wrongfully issued.
An employee from Dizzy’s, which is across Fifth Avenue from the Cat Clinic, said that the security gates have been rickety for some time.
“Every morning I see the employees struggling to open the roll down gate,” Jay said, who works behind Dizzy’s counter.
According to the New York Post, the nanny is named Nosrat Dezfoulian and was released from Lutheran Medical Center late Thursday night. Dezfoulian needed staples and stitches on her head. The report also said that the little boy went under surgery on Thursday to fix his leg, which was broken in three different places after being crushed by the heavy gate.
“I looked up and I saw it falling, coming at me,’’ Dezfoulian said to Post reporters after she was released from Lutheran. “The only thing on my mind was to save the baby. I tried to shield the baby, but I couldn’t.’’
Dezfoulian said that she and the boy were “briefly pinned” under the gate, but people who saw the accident happen ran up to help them.
Castellano told Patch on Thursday that a nurse was quickly on the scene and applied First Aide to the victims immediately.
“The top of her head was cracked open,” Castellano said on Thursday. “Blood was running down her face and into her eyes and mouth.”
At around 9 p.m. last night, responders from the Office of Emergency Management removed the fallen gate from the sidewalk and also removed the other one on President Street, just as a precaution.
Duane Rose, from OEM, told CBS Local that the gate was very old.
“It’s probably been up 30 to 40 years. Between salt, the rain, the water, probably what caused this to fall,” Duane Rose of the city’s OEM told CBS Local.
The owner of two buildings on Fifth Avenue, three storefronts down from the Cat Clinic, called the company that installed their security gates and asked for them to be inspected.
Rene Hernandez, the owner of A.J. Ironworks on Carroll Street, came by on Friday afternoon to make sure that the bolts and welding were in good condition.
“I came by today to see if I can reinforce the welding for precaution,” Hernandez said. “They are in good shape, but the owner asked me to inspect them simply because of yesterday.”
Hernandez said that the gates should be checked every four years, at least.
“Honestly, they need to be checked. The welding can rust out from salt and the bolts can get messed up from the weather, especially after a cold winter,” Hernandez said, explaining that the gates he installed have bolts that screw into the façade every foot throughout the entire frame.
He will be checking on every gate he installed throughout the neighborhood.
He also said that the gate on the Fifth Avenue Cat Clinic was very old and “in very bad shape.”
“Every time you rent a space, you need to check the gate,” the ironworker said. “You need to realize that these things don’t last forever.”
Miguel Quinones, who is a superintendent of four buildings in Park Slope, was also checking out security gates along Fifth Avenue on Friday.
“The gate that fell was very old and heavy, it was completely made out of steel,” Quinones said, explaining that newer gates are made out of aluminum and only the frames are made out of steel.
“I feel very sorry for the woman and child. It’s crazy how heavy that gate was, it’s too heavy of a thing to be where people walk and not be checked periodically,” Quinones said.
“I want to make sure that Park Slope pedestrians stay safe,” he said, explaining that he will be checking four other gates on Friday. “As we saw yesterday, they can really hurt someone.”