MIDTOWN — The superintendent of a Midtown office building died of a heart attack after collapsing in the middle of a fight with a bike messenger, police and witnesses said.
Roger Balan, 58, and courier Devon Givens, 35, were arguing in an elevator at 440 Park Avenue S., near East 30th Street, about 12:12 p.m. when it spilled out into the street, an NYPD spokesman said.
"They were arguing right in front. [Balan] was poking his hands in the guy's face. I couldn't hear what they were saying," said another super for the building, Ivor Fraser, 62.
Fraser left the scene to attend to another job in the building, he said.
But outside, Givens slugged Balan, who then went into cardiac arrest and clutched his chest while Givens continued to punch him, police said.
"A security guard called me five minutes later and said, 'You better come in front because we got a problem,'" Fraser said.
"I saw [Balan] on the ground. He was on his back," Fraser said.
"The paramedics were pumping him and doing CPR. They kept pumping him, but he wasn't responding. He finally shook a little bit, but he never shook again. It was terrible."
The super collapsed after a blow to the face, according to a man who saw the fight but declined to be named.
“I came around the corner and it was fast, no blood,” said the man, who said he worked in the neighboring office building. “It looked like he just got exhausted and passed out.”
A witness, who would only give his name as Larry, said he saw the pair spill out of the building and exchange punches outside. Then after about two minutes, Balan hit the ground and began to go purple in the face, he said.
“When I saw his face I knew he wasn’t going to make it,” Larry said.
Emergency workers rushed Balan to Bellevue Hospital, but doctors pronounced him dead upon arrival, according to a police spokeswoman.
Givens, who lives in Williamsburg, dropped his bag and fled the scene, Fraser said.
But he continued his appointed rounds and was arrested while delivering to 60 Wall St. about 3:30 p.m. after his carrier service gave up his name, an NYPD spokesman said.
Balan had worked at 440 Park Ave. for at least 20 years, enjoyed golf and had a temper, Fraser said.
"I'm very sad. He wasn't too friendly, but he didn't deserve to die the way he did," Fraser said.
The building's management company, SAMCO Properties, declined to comment.