A report from New York City's Department of Investigation (DOI) reveals that an engineer falsified an inspection report on a building whose facade collapsed in May, killing a 2-year-old girl and injuring her grandmother. The engineer was arrested on Nov. 17.
Greta Greene, 2, had reportedly been sitting with her grandmother, Susan Frierson, on a bench outside of The Esplanade, a luxury senior-living home in the Upper West Side on May 17 when the incident occurred. Some of the terracotta bricks on the facade of the Esplanade broke off and fell, hitting both Greene and her grandmother, according to both the Associated Press and the New York Daily News.
The toddler died from injuries to the head the following day, while Frierson was severely injured in the legs but survived.
The DOI's report found a number of worrying lapses in attention to safety at the Department of Buildings (DOB), which is supposed to regulate the safety of city structures such as The Esplanade.
The report said that The Esplanade hired a subcontractor whose engineer, 55-year-old Maqsood Faruqi, certified the safety of the building during his last inspection in 2011. Faruqi, however, had never even gone to the Esplanade to do an inspection before, and in fact was not hired as an inspector until after the 2011 inspection had already taken place, according to the DOI.
The DOI also found that a private consultant who was inspecting a building near The Esplanade sent an email to the DOB in October 2014 about a "scary" crack in the building's facade. The DOB reportedly fined The Esplanade but never sent an inspector out. This was three years after the allegedly false certification took place.
The DOI issued several recommendations for the Buildings Department after the report was released, NBC New York reports. Some of the recommendations include a database to track the age of buildings required to file safety inspection reports with the city, and an efficient alert system that could track buildings which are flouting building codes.
Faruqi was arrested on Nov. 17 and charged with offering a false instrument for filing. He pleaded not guilty to the charge.