NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) — As 911 calls were placed about a partial building collapse on Lafayette Street in New Haven, first responders rushed to the scene on Friday afternoon.
“You pray this day never comes, but you train for when it does, and it came,” New Haven Fire Department Assistant Chief Danny Coughlin said. “They were ready for it.”
Construction workers were pouring concrete at the building site — where a seven-story residential building will be — when the collapse happened. Several construction workers were trapped and injured.
“We got eight people out in 45 minutes,” Coughlin said. “That’s crazy and really says a lot about what they did on scene.”
News 8 spoke with some of the New Haven firefighters who were part of these heroic rescues.
“Nothing was really going through my head besides just get these people out and get them to the hospital,” said Max Augustine, a firefighter with the New Haven Fire Department.
They worked quickly to identify those with critical injuries and got them care immediately.
“We were bringing those people out first,” Augustine said.
New Haven City officials said in total eight construction workers were injured. Six of them have been released from the hospital. According to officials, two construction workers remain hospitalized, but only one is in the ICU.
Connecticut State Police dogs were also brought in to ensure everyone was out.
“We need to know accountability,” said Rick Fontana, the director of New Haven Emergency Operations.
Between the construction site and blazing temperatures, these first responders faced challenging circumstances.
“There’s not a staircase, there’s not a ramp, it was a maze to get in and out,” New Haven Fire Department Battalion Chief Joe Hilbertt said. “It was conditions you don’t want to see your members in, but they did great.”
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is now investigating what happened and the city of New Haven is looking into it, as well.
“Typically, in these cases, we require an outside third-party inspection company to be hired by the developer to inspect the concrete, the shorings before the concrete is poured,” Mayor Justin Elicker said. “We have seen that everything was done right on our side, but we’re making sure.”
Elicker said they’re checking out other construction projects in the city, too.
“We want to make absolutely sure that something like this never happens again,” he said.
We heard from RMS Companies, the company behind the project. They told News 8 they’re continuing to work with their engineers, safety team, and all appropriate government agencies to fully investigate the incident.