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CBS2 Exclusive: Falling Debris Injures Girl, Grandmother On Upper West Side

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- Falling debris from an Upper West Side building injured a 2-year-old girl and a woman Sunday, officials said.

The incident happened just after 11 a.m. at 305 West End Ave., near West 74th Street, officials said. The toddler was taken to NewYork-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center. She was initially listed in critical condition, but has since been upgraded to stable, WCBS 880 reported.

The adult, reportedly a grandmother, is also in that hospital in serious but stable condition, officials told WCBS 880.

It was a large chunk of window ledge at the Esplanade Senior Residences that came crashing down on the girl and her grandmother.

A photo from the scene showed what appeared to be a shattered brick or stone on the sidewalk, which was cordoned off by caution tape.

Officials: 2 Injured After Debris Falls From Upper West Side Building

Police officials told 1010 WINS that the building is a nursing home and that nurses from inside helped the child, who was unconscious, by performing CPR until EMS arrived. The girl regained consciousness, authorities said.

As CBS2's Hazel Sanchez reported, it was a heartbreaking scene as emergency crews arrived to rush the girl to the hospital.

"I just heard something fall down hard. All I heard was a big boom. When I look I see a woman picking up the baby. I see the baby lifeless," Nelson Amaya said.

Councilwoman Helen Rosenthal said the girl was struck in the head and was undergoing surgery.

"Our hearts and prayers are with the victim and her family as she undergoes surgery," Rosenthal said in a statement.

Witnesses described frightening moments following the fall.

"It was a really chaotic scene. They were frantic," Rory Pinto said, " It was good that somebody knew a little bit of CPR."

Janet Clark was working at the time and tried to help the little girl.

"I came out and seen her on the bench. They put her on the bench. We helped her. We resuscitated her until the ambulance came," she said.

The Department of Buildings said the 8th story ledge, made of porous terracotta material, may have become water-logged by rain causing it to crumble off the building.

The DOB said there had not been any recent complaints about the Esplanade's facade. The building appeared to have a clean maintenance record.

Barbara Pinto lives next door to the Esplanade and walks by it every day.

"I worry because it's a senior residence that they're not taking care of the building," Pinto said.

She said the frightening incident is a wake up call for the maintenance of all the aging buildings in the neighborhood.

"I'm hoping that somebody will check that the Esplanade is actually taken care of in a way that respects the neighborhood," she added.

The city Buildings Department is working to install a protect sidewalk shed Sunday, Rosenthal added.

The Buildings Department said it has cited the owner for failure to maintain the property.


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