Jose Paulino, 29, a native of the Dominican Republic living in the Bronx, worked as part of a crew removing scaffolding at 580 Eighth Avenue in midtown Manhattan, a 20-story building that recently underwent repairs to the façade.
He was standing on a 16th floor scaffolding plank when it snapped beneath him and he fell, his body striking metal support beams during his decent and landing on scaffolding at the 8th floor.
“I took a step, and I was falling, falling, falling. It felt like it was happening to somebody else,” Paulino said. “First I tried to hold on to something, to grab on to something, but I just kept falling and falling, I thought I might die.”
Emergency workers transported Paulino to St. Vincent’s Hospital where they are treating him for four cracked ribs, neck, shoulder and leg injuries. Jose’s family, including his wife, 2-year-old daughter and 4-year-old son, plan to celebrate Christmas when he is released, likely next week.
“It was horrible seeing him fall through the air so fast, and when he landed, I thought he was dead,” said Jose’s brother, Juan Paulino, 26, who was also part of the work crew.
The New York City Buildings Department ordered the construction company, Dry New York, Inc., to halt all work at the site.