LICH glitch: Plywood flies off rooftop

Brooklyn Paper
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Construction debris flew off a building’s roof on the site of the former Long Island College Hospital in Cobble Hill on Thursday, smashing through the window of a nearby brownstone, hitting a light pole, and littering a residential stretch, during high winds.

No one was injured.

The Department of Buildings immediately issued a stop-work order on construction at the landmarked Polhemus building at Henry and Amity streets, which developer Fortis Property Group is in the midst of converting into 17 luxury apartments. It is the third time in less than a year there has been an accident on the massive development site, a pattern that is stoking fear in the neighborhood, according to a local leader.

“It is terrifying that incidents such as yesterday’s occur and can continue to occur,” said Amy Breedlove, who is the president of the Cobble Hill Association.

Breedlove said sheets of plywood and wood planks flew across the street from the rooftop and a sandbag dove through the window of a brownstone across the street, the homeowner told her.

A fire department rep confirmed that it responded to a call at 7:51 am reporting the broken window and a spokesman for the Department of Buildings added that a piece of plywood hit a light pole.

Pictures of the aftermath show sheets of plywood sitting on the top of a truck and leaning on a car in front of it.

Along with Thursday’s debris storm, construction on the building made news in August when workers accidentally set fire to the roof while removing a water tank with a torch, according to a Brooklyn Eagle report.

And in October, falling cinder blocks seriously injured two workers at a site on Atlantic Avenue at Hicks street as they were preparing to demolish to make way for a new medical center.

A spokeswoman for Fortis blamed the flying debris on “extraordin­ary high winds” and said that all damaged areas have since been secured.

But the repeated episodes have just confirmed that the sprawling residential development is not good for the neighborhood, said a local pol.

“Our shuttered healthcare facility has now become a community safety concern,’ said state Sen. Daniel Squadron (D–Cobble Hill). “Incident after incident at the LICH site underscores how this development disregards and endangers the community.”

A Department of Buildings spokesman said it will discuss penalties for building violations at the agency’s Environmental Control Board hearing.

Reach reporter Lauren Gill at or by calling (718) 260–2511. Follow her on Twitter @laurenk_gill
Updated 10:17 pm, July 9, 2018
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