Jersey City man who fell to his death (from Fire Escape)


Authorities release name of Jersey City man who fell to his death


Jersey City Fire Escape Fatality

A 74-year-old Jersey City man who was cleaning a fire escape died after the counterweight from the fire escape’s ladder broke loose, struck him on the head and sent him falling to the ground this morning, officials said.  

At 11:30 a.m. officers responding to the backyard of 2684 Kennedy Blvd. found the the man, who was identified as Angel Feneque, unresponsive on the ground near the fire escape, bleeding from his nose, a police report says.

The victim’s wife told police that Feneque was the building superintendent and was cleaning the fire escape when the fatal incident occurred, the report says.  

It is unclear how far Feneque fell.

Police viewed security video that showed Feneque was putting a ladder next to the fire escape. As he pulled the fire escape’s ladder down, its counterweight broke loose and struck him on top of the head, the report says.

An ambulance from the Jersey City Medical Center responded and emergency medical technicians began life saving procedure, the report says. Feneque was rushed to the Medical Center where he was pronounced dead, officials said. 

“I heard a bang,” said Juan Serrano, 42, who lives in the building. “Then I saw someone lying in the back of the building. He had blood coming from his nose and the back of his head. The back of his head was really hurt.”

By Michaelangelo Conte | The Jersey Journal 
Follow on Twitter 
on June 26, 2014 at 6:08 PM

Journal staff writer Patrick McGovern contributed to this report.



Woman falls 15 feet after fire escape collapses


  • New Bedford woman falls 15

    feet after fire escape collapses

    NEW BEDFORD — A city woman fell at least 15 feet from a 

    fire escape when a portion of it collapsed Thursday

    evening, according to police.


  • Posted May. 17, 2014 @ 12:01 am
    Updated May 17, 2014 at 3:15 AM 



NEW BEDFORD — A city woman fell at least 15 feet from a fire escape when a portion of it collapsed Thursday evening, according to police.


At 6:50 p.m., Paige Pimental, 20, of New Bedford fell from the escape at the rear of 1215 Purchase St. and suffered fractures to both legs, police said. She was taken to Rhode Island Hospital.

Pimental ended up on a building landing at the structure, ownership of which is apparently in dispute between the city of New Bedford and UMass Dartmouth.

The Fire Department used a rescue basket and pulleys to get her safely to the ground, police said.

Pimental admitted to having smoked marijuana and drinking alcohol, but did not explain why she and a friend were at the building, according to police, who said no charges are being brought.

Fire Chief Michael Gomes said Pimental and a friend were on the roof of the building — which is attached to the Quest Center business incubator — when they “hopped onto a fire escape and the platform gave way,” leading to a fall of “15 to 20 feet.”

“Due to the condition of the fire escape, we didn’t feel it would be safe to carry her down on the escape,” hence the use of a rescue basket and pulleys, Gomes said.

“It does not look as if (the fire escapes) have been receiving adequate care,” the chief said.

Pimental was listed in good condition Friday night, according to Keith Raymond, a spokesman at Rhode Island Hospital.

The building at 1215 Purchase St. is attached to 1213 Purchase St. where the Quest Center houses the New Bedford Health Department and the New Bedford Economic Development Council.

Both buildings are pictured on the city assessors’ website as part of 1213 Purchase St. and listed as owned by the city of New Bedford.

But city and UMass Dartmouth officials disputed who owns the 1215 Purchase building Friday.

The city’s public information officer, Elizabeth Treadup Pio, said she believes the building is owned by UMass Dartmouth while UMass Dartmouth spokesman John Hoey, said he believes it is owned by the city.

The Bristol County Registry of Deeds website lists 1213 Purchase St. as owned by the city and does not list any building as being located at 1215 Purchase St.

Pio said the city did not notify the press about the accident because the police or fire departments would normally do that.

Police on the daily police log Friday listed an “Injured Person” at the “UMass Building” at 6:50 p.m. Thursday.

Fire Chief Gomes called the paper Friday and said two young women on Thursday had climbed to the top of the (former)”SMTI building” (Southeastern Massachusetts Technological Institute).

One of them, he said, had then fallen from a collapsed fire escape and was seriously injured.

– See more at:


Mom plunges from fire escape when step breaks loose

Mom steps out for fresh air, plunges from fire escape

A Manhattan mom stepped out onto her fire escape for some fresh air — and it nearly killed her when she reached a faulty step and plunged to the sidewalk Thursday morning, relatives and police said.

Judy Rivera, 58, climbed out of her fifth-floor window on West 16th Street at around 6:45 a.m. and was walking the stairs when she is believed to have hit what is now a gap between the third and fourth floors and lost her footing.

She tumbled down the stairs and grabbed a railing for dear life.

“I looked out and saw her hanging from the outside of the fire escape,” said a neighbor Andrew Rivera, 62.

Rivera lost her grip and fell from the third floor to the sidewalk.

“I thought she might have been dead,” Andrew Rivera said. “I couldn’t stop crying.”

Judy Rivera’s husband, Anthony, said his son woke him up in a panic to say that she had fallen off the fire escape.

After they rushed downstairs, they found her writhing in pain on the ground.

“It looks like she was walking down and the step just collapsed,” said Anthony Rivera. “I don’t know if she dropped something and went to get it. I just don’t know. I want to know what happened to the step from that fire escape. It’s missing. It was hanging, and now it’s gone.”

Minutes before falling, Judy Rivera, a retired nurse, had told her 19-year-old son that she was stepping out onto the fire escape for some air.

“I went to the bathroom and . . . all I heard was ‘doom, doom, doom’ — three bangs,” said the son, who, like the neighbor, is named Andrew Rivera. “I looked out and I saw her head, her hair. I looked closer and I was like, ‘Oh, that’s Mom!’

“She was just laying down. It looked like her head was injured.”


Modal TriggerRivera’s fire escape allegedly was missing a stair.Photo: Seth Gottfried


Judy Rivera was rushed to Bellevue Hospital, where, incredibly, she was listed in stable condition.

“It’s a miracle [she’s alive],” said Anthony Rivera, who added that his wife may have a broken hip.

“[The doctors] said from the height she fell, she’s lucky to be alive.”


Blaze that kills 2 Boston firefighters



BOSTON —D & J Ironworks failed to follow safety precautions, which officials said led to a massive fire in the Back Bay that killed two firefighters in March. That’s the finding of an investigation by the U.S. Department of Labor Occupational Safety and Health Administration.

Watch the report | Photos: Memorial for firefighters killed in Back bay blaze

The nine-alarm fire on March 26 started because the Malden-based welding company allowed its employees to install railings using arc welding equipment during high wind conditions, the investigation showed.

Fire officials said sparks from the welding at 296 Beacon St. ignited clapboards on an adjacent shed at 298 Beacon St., which led to the fire. Fire Lt. Ed Walsh and firefighter Michael Kennedy were killed.

“OSHA found that the company lacked an effective fire prevention and protection program, failed to train its employees in fire safety, did not have a fire watch present and did not move the railing to another location where the welding could be performed safely,” said Brenda Gordon, OSHA’s area director for Boston and southeastern Massachusetts. “This company’s failure to implement these required, common-sense safeguards put its own employees at risk and resulted in a needless, tragic fire.”

The investigation also showed that D & J Ironworks failed to protect its employees against respiratory and chemical hazards associated with welding, cutting, drilling and painting operations.

OSHA cited D & J Ironworks for 10 serious violations of workplace safety standards.

D & J Ironworks, which faces $58,000 in fines, has 15 days from the time it receives its citations and penalties to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA’s area director or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.

After OSHA released its findings in connection with the fire, Kennedy’s mother, Kathy Crosby-Bell, released a statement saying she was looking forward to the results of the complete investigation.

“This morning I learned the outcome of OSHA’s investigation that caused the tragic fire on March 26 and loss of my son, Firefighter Michael Kennedy,” she said in a statement. “This is only one piece of the ongoing investigation and I look forward to the results of the complete investigation from the District Attorney’s office. Ultimately, I hope this reminds all Bostonians of the critical need to ensure the safety of our firefighters who put their lives on the line for each one of us every day.”

D & J Ironworks didn’t respond to requests from NewsCenter 5 for information, but their attorney said the OSHA report is without support both legally and factually. He said, construction tradesmen, especially welders, should take workplace safety into consideration as to avoid tragic accidents.


Read more:


Hanging by a thread

Roughly 100 buildings in the Springs have fire escapes. Are any of them safe?

Editor’s note: This story was updated Friday, Sept. 26, to eliminate a reference to Patricia Cortez seeking damages from Colorado Springs’ city government; her lawyers had only filed a notice of claim to reserve their right to sue. They have since decided not to seek damages from the city.
At about 1:35 p.m. on Jan. 22, Colorado Springs Police officer Erin Plant was finishing a traffic stop a few blocks from Kiowa Street in downtown Colorado Springs when passersby described a very loud bang, like an explosion. It was the sound of Pedro Carreno dying.Carreno, 41, had plunged one story from a fire escape at 31 S. Tejon St. He died instantly from massive head and neck injuries. Bystanders cried and covered their eyes.Later, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration would find that the fire escape was dangerous. That meant fines of just $7,000 each for the building’s owner, Cygnet Building Holdings, and for Carreno’s employer. (Cygnet negotiated and paid a $6,000 fine; the employer’s fine is pending.)

Carreno’s widow, Patricia Cortez, is suing Cygnet and the building management company, HLI Properties-Strongbrook. Both declined to comment for this story through their lawyer but have filed court papers blaming others, including the Colorado Springs Fire Department. According to a police report, a firefighter had identified the fire escape as inoperable in 2012.

But fire escapes have been a danger for a long time. They were banned on new construction in the 1970s because they were unsafe.

And yet, says Roger Lovell, a structural engineer with the Pikes Peak Regional Building Department, “we still have all those old buildings out there that still have fire escapes on them” — about 100 of them in Colorado Springs, according to the Fire Department. And they still could end up being the only path to safety in an emergency — if they’re safe. But there’s no way to know if they are until it’s too late, because no one is tasked with inspecting them.

Carreno fell to his death through a regulatory hole. And we can’t determine what, if anything, has changed since that day, in part because CSFD, involved in the Carreno litigation, says it can’t answer many questions.

Carreno Family

Carreno and other Weathercraft workers arrived at the Tejon Street building shortly after lunch to assess repairing the roof, according to a police report. Richard Farias, Carreno’s co-worker, told Officer Plant they were waiting to meet the building maintenance manager, who wasn’t available until 3 p.m.

“While the[y] waited,” the report says, “they noticed the fire escape and decided it would be the better way to access the roof, instead of having to go through the building. He[Farias] said they wanted to stay out of the building so they did not track in the dirt.” (The lawsuit alleges a different scenario, saying the management company, HLI, told the workers to use the fire escape in the alley behind the building, just south of Kiowa Street.)

Carreno was the first onto the staircase, on the second floor, Farias told the officer. He walked to the end, which should have lowered on its own under his weight, but it didn’t budge. Farias was behind Carreno several steps, and another co-worker, Cesar Ibarra, was near the landing.

“Mr. Farias said he was holding on the hand rails pretty tight, in anticipation of the ladder moving down,” Plant said in the report. “He said as Mr. Carreno began bouncing the ladder, it took approximately two jumps before it fell to the ground.”

Lovell, who examined the fire escape that day, says the apparatus was designed to lower the last flight of stairs from a horizontal position to an incline touching the ground. A person’s weight is supposed to cause a cylindrical weight housed in a metal tube attached to the building to gradually rise, thereby lowering the stair from its perch one story up.

“The counterweight is what holds the stair up,” Lovell explains. “It appears to me that the counterweight was seized in the casing, and the guy jumping up and down broke the cable, and the whole thing came down.”

It was a shock — yet not everyone would be surprised that this fire escape malfunctioned. Officer Plant’s report describes how a firefighter identified it as faulty in 2012:

“As I spoke with other investigators and medical personnel,” Plant wrote, “I learned that Firefighter Matt Langly [sic] had been on a foot patrol with [Truck 1] in 2012 in the downtown area. He said they will frequently park downtown and walk the alleys and observe the accessibility of the buildings in case of emergency. He stated he observed the fire escape on this particular building and wondered if it worked… He said he grabbed a pipe hook from the truck and tried to pull the ladder down, but was unable to. Mr. Langly [sic] said he was not doing a formal inspection of the system, only curious if it worked for further fire related access.”

Whether Langley notified the building owner is unclear. Cygnet says in court papers he didn’t, and Cortez’s lawyers with McDivitt Law Firm also claim the Fire Department didn’t notify the owner or property manager.

Springs Fire Marshal Brett Lacey told media at the time of the death that the department looks at fire escapes if called to buildings for unrelated reasons. Deputy Fire Chief Steve Dubay explains via email, “Our firefighters routinely walk through and around buildings all over town to conduct what we call ‘pre-plans’ should they need to work at buildings under fire conditions. It’s a common practice for fire departments across the country… they are not ‘inspections’ from a code enforcement standpoint.”

The National Fire Protection Association, based in Quincy, Mass., has studied fire escape hazards for 100 years, according to a recent article in NFPA Journal. “From the outset,” author Carl Baldassarra writes, “the committee reserved some of its harshest criticism for fire escapes, which it tended to view as a problematic solution to the larger problem of getting people out of buildings quickly and safely in the event of fire.”

In the committee’s first report to the NFPA’s executive committee in 1914, it noted “common defects” in fire escapes, such as that they’re hard to get to, not shielded against flames shooting from windows, are missing ladders and stairs from the second floor to the ground, and can be cluttered with items stored there by tenants. Even now, Baldassarra notes, fire escapes, while still credited with saving lives, pose dangers, and maintenance “is essential to assure their usability and safety,” including their structural integrity. “This is a critical focus of fire escape inspection.”

About 10 days before Carreno was killed, a man fell to his death in Philadelphia when an apartment building’s fire escape, which hadn’t been inspected in decades, collapsed, according to news reports.

As in Colorado Springs, and numerous other cities in the U.S., in Philadelphia there is no required periodic inspection of fire escapes, and by all accounts there never has been. The Philadelphia City Council entertained the idea of adopting a fire-escape inspection program last spring, after the death, but so far it has not done so, after building owners complained about the expense.

There’s been no discussion by Springs City Council to require fire escape inspections.

Lovell says Regional Building inspects elevators every six months, twice as often as the law requires. It’s up to the Fire Department to inspect other safety issues, he says, such as access in and out of buildings and fire extinguishers. He says fire escape inspections should be conducted regularly, but doesn’t say by whom.

Pueblo Fire Department doesn’t inspect that city’s roughly two dozen fire escapes, says interim Deputy Chief Shawn Shelton, and he’s unaware of any agency that does. “The current code we’re under does not address them specifically,” he says. Pueblo, like Colorado Springs, follows the 2009 International Building Code and Fire Code.

However, in Denver, the fire department, which also follows the 2009 codes, inspects the approximately 150 fire escapes in the city and county of Denver annually as part of its routine fire inspections, Fire Prevention Division Chief Joseph Gonzales says via email. “If there are obvious deficiencies,” he writes, “the fire escape is included in any order issued for items that need to be brought into compliance.”

Gonzales says Denver Fire is planning to adopt the 2015 International Fire Code. “This is the first time requirements for fire escapes are all included in one section of the code, eliminating the need to research the past code effective at the time each fire escape was constructed,” he says.

New building and fire codes are introduced every three years by the International Code Council, which works jointly with the National Fire Protection Association to update the International Fire Code, also every three years. The most current available is the 2012 code.

In the Springs, Regional Building historically has adopted a new version every six years. It doesn’t update more often, Lovell says, because it’s a costly and protracted process for an agency that serves seven jurisdictions in the region. Lovell says there’s been no discussion so far of adopting the 2015 code.

Until the 2012 code came out, there were no specific guidelines requiring fire escapes to be inspected, says Cisco Meneses, of Somerville, Mass. Recognizing that dearth, Meneses in recent years established the for-profit Fire Escape Services, with offices on the East and West coasts, and Fire Escape Engineers, and founded the nonprofit National Fire Escape Association.

He says before the 2012 code was issued, which requires inspections every five years, inspectors could cite a building owner for an unsafe fire escape if it was found while inspecting a building’s other fire safety features.

Meneses has developed inspection requirements, which include the obvious, such as broken or missing steps and railings, and also load-bearing tests. But even minus such provisions in building and fire codes, Meneses says, fire departments could turn to older codes’ sections on unsafe buildings to issue citations for faulty fire escapes. “It’s called an imminent hazard,” he says. “As a firefighter, if it’s right there in your face, now I’m forced to do something about it. I would put it under ‘egress maintenance — obstruction.’ It’s another violation if it’s not structurally sound.”

But cities nationwide have all but ignored fire escapes until an incident occurs. “It’s out of sight, out of mind, and don’t look for trouble,” he says, noting that firefighters themselves often advise recruits to not use fire escapes, because they’re unreliable.

Meneses has taught fire-escape safety across the country, often at no cost. He conducted a seminar in late March in Salt Lake City during which the Springs and Philadelphia deaths were noted. “I called the city of Colorado Springs to see if I could come out and do a class,” he says. “They never returned my call.”

Fatal Philly fire escape collapse



Leonia man identified as victim in fatal Philly fire escape collapse

PHILADELPHIA — The 22-year-old man who died after a fire escape collapsed at a historic Center City building on Sunday morning was identified by authorities Monday as Leonia resident Albert Suh.

According to the Associated Press, Suh and two women, ages 25 and 26, were smoking cigarettes on the fire escape of the 108-year-old John C. Bell apartment building when the iron landing collapsed, sending the trio 35 feet to the ground.

Suh, of the 100 block of Leonia Avenue, was pronounced dead after sustaining head and neck injuries, according to police. The other two women were listed in stable condition with serious back injuries.

The three were attending a party at the historic property, which was built in 1906 and is on the city’s historical registry.

The building, once home to Pennsylvania attorney general John C. Bell, has not been inspected in over 50 years, according to a report on NBC 10. The Philadelphia Department of Licenses and Inspections (L&I) issued five violations after a post-accident inspection, finding the conditions of the fire escape deteriorated and “imminently dangerous,” according to the agency’s website.

Suh graduated from Penn State in June with a degree in economics, according to his LinkedIn page. His LinkedIn page lists him as an employee of JP Morgan Chase.

A family friend told The Record that Suh moved to Leonia a few years ago with his parents and two brothers after having lived in Port Washington, NY.

Attempts to reach the family Monday night were not successful.

By James Kleimann | 
 | Follow on Twitter 
on January 13, 2014 at 9:11 PM, updated January 14, 2014 at 7:16 AM


FDNY evacuates students from roof due to rotted fire escape



Stairs collapse, fire escape unstable, FDNY evacuates kids from roof

From Daily News

From CBS New York:

An early-morning rooftop party in the East Village ended Sunday morning after a stairwell collapsed, sending a man falling at least two stories.

More than 30 college-aged students at the party were trapped on the roof after the accident that occurred around 1 a.m., an FDNY spokesman said. Firefirghters used a ladder and cherry-picker basket to rescue them from the top of the seven-story building at 159 Second Ave., near East 10th Street.

“They also tried to get everyone off the fire escape, but the fire escape is not deemed to code,” a partygoer who lives in the building told WCBS 880′s Monica Miller reported. “So when they were actually trying to get people off, some of the rings were breaking. So that’s why they were bucketing people because there was literally no access in and out of that building, and the elevator wasn’t working either.”

The man who fell was admitted to Bellevue Hospital. He injured his leg and suffered broken ribs and a collapsed lung, 1010 WINS’ Glenn Schuck reported. The man was apparently jumping up and down on the landing.



Tenant fell through faulty fire escape


A tenant at an office building in Tamworth, Staffordshire was badly injured when he fell though a faulty fire escape as he tried to evade intruders.

Jonathon Hoey, 36, rented the top floor of the five storey Tolsen Mill building in Fazeley, Tamworth. On 6 November 2012, he was working alone in the building during the evening, when he heard intruders. He decided to use the external fire escape to avoid any confrontation. As he started to go down the fire escape, the top treads of the cast iron metal staircase collapsed and he fell more than three metres to the flight below. He suffered fractured vertebrae and was unable to return to work for three months owing to his injuries, which meant that he had to temporarily close his business.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) investigated the incident and found that the mill’s owner, Ashfield Land (Birmingham) Ltd, had been aware for six months that the fire escape was in a poor condition. It had failed to ensure the fire escape was adequately maintained and also did not take steps to prevent access to the area until it was fixed.

HSE inspector David Brassington said: ‘In not maintaining this external fire escape, Ashfield Land (Birmingham) Ltd seriously failed the people using this building as a place of work. Duty holders with the responsibility for the maintenance of workplaces must ensure they are maintained, especially areas used for emergency access and exits.’

Ashfield Land (Birmingham) Ltd appeared at Stafford Magistrates’ Court and pleaded guilty to breaching reg.4(2) of the Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992. It was fined £13,500 and ordered to pay £961 in costs.