2006-08-04 / Community

Woman Injured At Troubled Construction Site

By Brian Magoolaghan

Plywood and 2x4s litter a construction site at 167 Beach 96 Street, which has been the site of two dangerous incidents in as many weeks. Plywood and 2x4s litter a construction site at 167 Beach 96 Street, which has been the site of two dangerous incidents in as many weeks.

A female pedestrian was hospitalized last Friday after she was struck by a fence that fell down at a troubled construction site in Rockaway Beach. City inspectors stopped work at the same site last week, one day before a dumpdruck toppled over there and the driver was arrested.

Victoria Krajkowski, 54, was walking back to the house on Beach 96 Street where she lives with her daughter, Jessica Rapp, at about 4 p.m. when gusty winds ahead of a thunderstorm caused a plywood construction fence to fall onto the sidewalk.

"She said a gust of wind came and knocked the boards on top of her," said Rapp. "She was knocked to the ground."

Krajkowski, a stroke survivor who has limited mobility on her left side, was treated for scrapes and bruises to her right elbow and shoulder.

"Her right side is all banged up," her daughter told The Wave.

A police officer patrolling the area on bicycle came to the woman's aid and she was brought by EMS to Peninsula Hospital Center.

Krajkowski was released later Friday night and returned to her residence.

"We fed her and she went to sleep because she was exhausted," Rapp said. Asked if her mother would seek compensation for her injuries Rapp said, "I told her, 'Mom you need to do something because they shouldn't be able to get away with this."'

The house where Krajkowski and Rapp live is next door to the construction site, which made the front page of this newspaper last week after the Department of Buildings issued a "stop work" order Tuesday and a dumptruck working on the site crashed down into the street Wednesday.

The driver of the dumptruck, Ermest Cohens, 38, was arrested and charged with aggravated unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle and driving without a license, according to a spokesperson for Queens District Attorney Richard A. Brown. His employer, AAA Construction Services based in Nassau County, did not return calls seeking comment. No one was injured in that incident.

The city has logged six complaints regarding the site since July 25, the latest one reporting: "fence at site has fallen and is covering the sidewalk leaving worksite open to public - conditions are dangerous," according to the DOB website. Inspectors from the DOB haven't been back since they issued the "stop work" order, according to Jennifer Givner, a spokesperson for the agency. An inspector will return to the site "shortly" and will issue a violation if the fence has not been repaired, she said.

Givner said AAA could repair the fence, which neighbors of the property lifted off the sidewalk and laid back into the site, without violating the order to stop work. "We would certainly allow them to do that work because it would secure the site," she said.

The fence - still bearing DOB work permits and the "stop work" order lay in the site when a Wave reporter visited on Tuesday.

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