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Worker Hurt by Falling Debris at Bronx Building

By Noelani Montero | July 17, 2013 9:36am | Updated on July 17, 2013 10:06am
 The fascade of an old building colapses. 
Falling Debris at 678 Union Ave.
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THE BRONX — Rubble from the roof of a Melrose townhouse with a history of violations collapsed onto scaffolding and injured a construction worker Tuesday afternoon, witnesses and officials said.

The unidentified man, who was part of a crew doing work on the house at 678 Union Ave., was taken to Lincoln Hospital with unspecified injuries about 3 p.m., officials said.

The home, which was built in 1901, had been abandoned for about five years, following a fire, neighbors said.

The Department of Buildings hit the home's owners with violations in August 2012 and last April for failing to maintain the structure, citing loose bricks on the roof, cracks in the facade and missing windows, according to the DOB's website.

The owner, listed by the Department of Buildings as Maria Montalvo of Marlboro, N.Y., owes more than $2,000 in fines, according to the DOB.

"It was only a matter of time," Jason Ortiz, 37, a neighbor, said of the debris falling from the building. "Everyone on the block knew it."

Montalvo's husband, Miguel Montalvo, said that he and his wife had sold the property a few weeks ago, but he declined to name the buyer. He said that he and his wife were no longer responsible for the building and that the fines should have been paid by the company that bought the property.

The city's online property records did not show a sale of the building as of Tuesday.

DOB records show that the Department of Housing Preservation and Development applied for a permit in May to do work on the building, which a source said was for emergency repairs. That work was not related to the construction that was happening on Tuesday, the source added.