A man hit by a piece of fire escape that fell off a New York City building on Friday has died.
Police say 58-year-old Richard Marchhart died Saturday from a skull fracture he sustained when he was hit by the debris Friday afternoon, around 1:30pm.
Marchhart is survived by his wife and three kids – two sons in college and a high school-aged daughter.
‘He was great man,’ his oldest son told the New York Daily News. ‘And a great father.’
Police say the Garden City, Long Island man was walking on Broadway near Howard Street, in Manhattan’s SoHo neighborhood, when a piece of the building’s metal fire escape hit him.
A 24-year-old art student from Queens, Nathalia Medllin, was also hit in the head by the debris but is expected to survive after suffering a minor laceration.
Officials say an engineer hired by the owner of the building was doing a routine inspection of the fire escape when a 150-pound piece broke off and fell seven stories to the ground.
‘It was a normal inspection,’ FDNY Deputy Manhattan Borough Commander Michael Gala Jr said. ‘We had a woman up on the fire escape looking at the façade, and it appears that under her weight that step became dislodged.’
The engineer also suffered minor injuries but refused medical treatment at the scene.
‘I was about 10 feet away, sitting in my van, and I just saw a guy hit the ground. Blood starting pouring from his head,’ witness Matthew Kohere told the New York Post.
‘At first I didn’t know what it was. Honestly, I thought someone had shot him in the head, that’s how bad it was. I mean, there’s a lot of blood. He was out.’
Police and the city Buildings Department are investigating.
The building had no prior complaints on file. The last time the fire escape was inspected, in 2013, no issue was found with the structure.
Naresh Ramsaran, a former co-worker, told the New York Daily News that Marchhart loved to talk about his family.
‘His sons especially,’ he said. ‘He always talked about how they were doing in school.’
He was also an avid jogger who competed in triathlons.
Ramsaran worked was hired by Marchhart in 2005 to work at Zumtobel Lighting. They worked together for eight years until Marchhart moved to Kreon, another lighting company in 2013, and hired Ramsaran just six months in.
‘(People) say, “you need to meet one good person in your life,”‘ he said. ‘He was that person for me.’
According to his LinkedIn, Marchhart left Kreon in 2015 and was working as an executive vice president of I2 Systems at the time of his death.