ST. JAMES, N.Y. (PIX11) — A half dozen workers on Long Island were hospitalized, three of them in critical condition, after part of a building collapsed on top of them Thursday afternoon.
At 1:30 p.m., the two-story facade of a storage building that was under renovation at 840 Middle Country Road near the border of Smithtown and St. James detached from the building and fell forward. At the time, a mechanical lift that’s about one-and-a-half stories high, was positioned directly in front of the wall, with some workers on top of it.
Both they, and the lift, tumbled to the ground, hard, according to eyewitnesses like John Gomes.
“I just hear the noise when it comes down, ‘Pow!’” Gomes said, “and see the guys bleeding.”
Of the six injuries, three were critical, and of those three, one worker was so badly injured that he had to be airlifted out.
There were heavy cinder blocks everywhere and thick dust, said Jaime Armendariez, another eyewitness. “Like a bomb had hit,” he said.
Surveillance video of the collapse clearly shows how severe the crash was. The surveillance video was recorded by cameras mounted on the business next door, A Touch of Class Car Wash.
A Suffolk County police officer had just left the car wash, according to law enforcement sources, when she saw and heard what happened. She ran to the men’s aid, using her emergency medical training on them and calling for help immediately.
Rodney Harrison, the Suffolk County police commissioner, singled the officer out for her bravery, at a brief news conference at the scene on Thursday afternoon.
“Some of the workers are actually calling her a hero for the triage work that she did,” Harrison said. “[She was] able to get immediate response from ambulances and medevac people to get transport.”