A worker broke his arm and five others suffered minor scrapes when a barn roof tumbled off its supports as carpenters were raising it this morning at the Oklahoma Training Track.
The man was airlifted to Albany Medical Center Hospital after the 8:30 a.m. accident. The other five workers, four men and one woman, were treated at the scene for cuts and scrapes and remained at work, said Charlie Wheeler, New York Racing Association facilities manager.
NYRA officials and city police were not releasing the workers’ names.
The skilled carpenters, all members of a carpenters’ union and NYRA employees, were renovating Barn 50, the seventh barn to be rebuilt as part of an ongoing renovation project at the training track on Union Avenue. The barns have sunk into the ground over the decades, Wheeler said, and new walls are being installed at each barn one by one.
It will cost between $50,000 and $70,000 to rebuild the 10-stall barn, and that construction will be completed in six to eight weeks.
“Whatever we will do, we will use the existing materials as much as possible,” Wheeler said, adding NYRA will continue with the rest of the barn renovations as planned.
Barn 50 in Horse Haven was assigned to trainer Gary Contessa, who did not have horses in it yet because it was being renovated.
After the accident, the slate roof of the 120-by-25-foot barn lay on the ground where it fell. Wheeler said he couldn’t guess how many tons the roof weighs.
“With the slate on there, it’s not light,” he said.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration was called in to investigate the accident.
Wheeler said the carpenters were using eight barn jacks per stall, rather than the required minimum of five. As the workers hoisted the roof to its intended height, its weight shifted and the roof fell on its side, Wheeler said.
Two workers were inside the structure, and the other four were outside. No one else was near the barn at the time.
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