SoHo, Manhattan- Early Friday afternoon, a man and woman were struck in the head by a metal stair that broke apart from a fire escape and fell seven stories before hitting them. Both were rushed to a nearby hospital, where the man later died and the woman was treated for a minor laceration, according to authorities.
The incident occurred around 1:40 PM Friday at a nine-story commercial building located at 434 Broadway; the fire escape from where the metal fell was on the southern façade of the building, above Howard Street, according to FDNY officials.
FDNY Deputy Assistant Chief Michael Gala stated that the metal broke from the fire escape while a building inspector was examining the fire escape; the inspector was a private engineer and he suffered minor injuries when the step broke loose, according to Gala.
On Saturday, police identified the man who was fatally hit by the step as 58-year-old Richard Marchhart, a resident of Garden City, Long Island NY. Police stated that Mr. Marchhart was pronounced dead early Saturday morning at Bellevue hospital after succumbing to his injuries.
Mr. Marchhart does not have any known connection to the woman who was struck, according to police authorities.
Shortly after the step fell and struck the victims, Broadway was shut down to both pedestrian and vehicle traffic.
A group of three teens standing at the police line on Broadway stated that they had seen both the man and woman fall to the pavement. The teens stated that they couldn’t tell if something had hit them or if they had “jumped from the building.” According to the teens, there was “a lot of blood” on the ground.
In November of last year, scaffolding fell on pedestrians at the corner of Broadway and Prince Street, just several blocks north of where Friday’s incident took place. In the scaffolding collapse incident, five pedestrians were hit by debris but there were no fatalities.
The NYC Department of Buildings stated that the investigation into what caused the step to become dislodged is ongoing.
— FDNY (@FDNY) February 16, 2018
— Brendan Walsh (@BrendanWalshnyc) February 16, 2018