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Man dead after fall through cellar grate

There are thousands of people each day that walk the streets of New York. Very few, if any stop and think to not walk over the cellar grate. With the packed streets of New York, especially during rush hour times, the streets are packed. One of the last things that someone were to think to worry about would be that they would fall through a cellar grate and be seriously hurt or even die.

Yet, a 30 year old pedestrian, walking on Bedford Avenue fell through a cellar grate, and died. The metal door that lead to the basement of an abandoned building had collapsed right under the man.

Every New Yorker’s worst nightmare to fall to your death through a Cellar grate.

“He was walking. Not paying attention. The thing is loose. And he disappeared.”

A witness stated that the victim had lived in a nearby shelter. The victim was walking and the cellar doors had just opened. In 2014, the city had received 40 complaints for defective sidewalk cellar doors in 2014, and has received 19 in the first 20 days of 2015.

Under city law, property owners are held to be liable for any injuries or deaths that result from improperly maintained cellar grates.

A similar nightmare scenario occurred in June, when an apparently dazed man stumbled headfirst into an open grate outside of a Harlem deli.

In 2009, a boy of the age of 10 was injured when he fell through the cellar of a vacant restaurant. These faulty cellar grates pose a serious issue. This is a serious issue that can be fixed which would then prevent future injuries or even deaths.

“Many storefronts in NYC have cellars underneath for storage. They are accessed through cellar doors in the sidewalk.” Says, New York personal injury attorney, Paul Ajlouny. “On the NYC DOT website, they define defective cellar doors as: “[those] that deflect greater than 1” when walked on, are not skid resistant or are otherwise in a dangerous or unsafe condition.

Lawsuits we have handled are for people who tripped or fell through the cellar doors. These accidents do happen as seen in this tragic incident on Bedford Ave. near Herkimer St. in the middle of the afternoon.

Just a pure nightmare that you can be causally walking along and then metal doors leading to a basement of an abandoned building collapse beneath you. People who walk on cellar doors every day, and YES there are a small number of cellar related accidents. However, the odds of being injured by a cellar door are ziltch to none. You’re more likely to be hit by a taxi in New York.” suggests Mr. Ajlouny.


Chelsea Horowitz (Ajlouny Injury Law)

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