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Four Hurt in Wall Collapse at UES Townhouse

By  Aidan Gardiner and Amy Zimmer | June 29, 2012 12:18pm | Updated on June 29, 2012 4:26pm

 A worker enters 222 E. 62nd St. as emergency crews consult.
A worker enters 222 E. 62nd St. as emergency crews consult.
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DNAinfo/Aidan Gardiner

MANHATTAN — Four workers were injured when a wall on the third floor of an Upper East Side townhouse partially collapsed Friday as it was being renovated, FDNY officials said.

Roughly a dozen workers had been removing bricks from a lower portion of the third floor at 222 E. 62nd St. to put a steel reinforcement beam in the wall when it buckled and collapsed at 11:30 a.m., fire officials said.

Three of the men on a scaffold at the time of the collapse dove for the third floor windows. Two made it inside and one didn't, said Deputy Fire Commissioner Thomas McKavanagh. The one that didn't was in serious, but stable condition. The other two suffered minor injuries. All three were taken to New York-Presbyterian Hospital.

"The entire rear third floor wall collapsed onto [the crew]," McKavanagh said "Only three workers suffer[ed] the worst extent of the injuries."

For the three workers who dove off the scaffold, he said, "that probably saved them," adding, "they were able to get to a position where they didn't take the full brunt of the wall on their heads."

A fourth worker was also taken to the hospital with minor injuries, fire officials said.

"It sounded like a big snowball rolling down a mountain, then lots of dust," said a man who gave his first name as Juaquime, who was working on a nearby house when he saw the collapse.

A woman, who said her cousin was one of the injured workers, worried he may have broken both his legs. He also hurt his left arm, said Roza Galuspyan, 35. 

"He was buried in the bricks," she said. "He had total loss of memory. He couldn't remember the address even though he's been there for a month."

The single-family residence was in the midst of building a 3-story rooftop addition, according to Department of Buildings records.

The townhouse had sold last year for more than $4.5 million, according to city records.

Department of Buildings officials were on the scene but did not immediately respond for comment.

"Usually these types of buildings are very stable. They were built back in the 1800s," McKavanagh said of the landmark home. "It's when you start to disassemble them that you have to be careful."