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Security Gate Collapse Leaves Woman, Child Seriously Injured in Park Slope

By  Ben Fractenberg and Julie  Shapiro | June 7, 2012 6:10pm 

A gate came crashing down at President Street and Fifth Avenue in Brooklyn on June 7, 2012.
A gate came crashing down at President Street and Fifth Avenue in Brooklyn on June 7, 2012.
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DNAinfo/Ben Fractenberg

PARK SLOPE — A woman and a child were seriously injured after a security gate collapsed on them on a Fifth Avenue sidewalk Thursday, FDNY officials said.

The metal gate, which framed the storefront at 225 Fifth Ave., at President Street, crashed to the sidewalk about 4:15 p.m., hitting the woman in the head and the child in the foot, an FDNY spokesman said.

Both victims were taken to Lutheran Medical Center in serious condition, the spokesman said.

Witnesses said the pair were a nanny and a young boy, who were holding hands as they walked along the sidewalk.

"The thing came flying," said Christine Castellano, 55, who lives nearby. "Everybody jumped.... There was a lot of blood on [the nanny's] face, her chest, her arms. [The boy's] leg was all crushed — pancaked."

Castellano said the nanny had a bystander call the boy's mother, who was nearby and rushed toward the scene of the accident.

"She was running up the street, yelling, 'What happened?'" said another witness, who did not give her name. "The look on her face, it was the most heartbreaking thing you've ever seen."

The witness added, "There was blood everywhere. I heard the child start screaming. The child's leg had blood all over it."

Department of Buildings inspectors flooded the Park Slope block Thursday night and issued a violation to the property's owner, 4G Realty LLC, for failing to maintain the building, a DOB spokeswoman said.

The gate collapsed because of "age and fatigue," an Office of Emergency Management worker on the scene said.

The OEM directed the building's owner Thursday night to take down a similar gate on the President Street side of the building, the worker said. The welding that connected that gate to the building appeared to be rusting away in places. 

A representative of 4G Realty did not immediately return a call for comment.

The metal gate framed the storefront of the 5th Avenue Cat Clinic on the building's ground floor. A woman who answered the clinic's phone Thursday evening declined to comment.

In 2002, the Department of Buildings issued a violation to the property's previous owner for failing to maintain the building.

Amber Sloan, 33, who lives above the clinic, said she heard a "really loud huge bang" and then looked out her window to see that the gate had fallen.

"I walk under there all the time," she said. "It's so scary."