Man falls to death after railing gives on terrace

March 16, 2010 3:09:51 PM PDT
A warning for residents of a high rise in Manhattan, after a balcony railing broke, and sent a resident plunging to his death. The young man lived at the building at 1st avenue and East 39th street.

Dog walker EJ Dougherty says she and others at the New York towers are still stunned by the death of a fellow tenant in a fatal fall from a balcony two days ago.

"We're all freaked about it because it could have been anyone of us," says Dougherty.

Police say 24-year-old Connor Donohue stepped on to a 24th floor terrace Sunday morning and plunged to his death.

A city buildings inspector now says it appears the vertical bars, most on the left side missing are missing, and may have come loose from the railing.

"They have told us not to go out on it. But that's about all," said Helen McGlaughlin.

The buildings department immediately made all of the balconies off limits, until the property owner hires an engineer to inspect them and issue a conditions report.

The city also ordered the construction of a sidewalk shed as a precaution and levied a $25,000 fine for failing to maintain the building.

The high rise owner , Jennifer Towers with Apartment Corp, tells Eyewitness News, "It's a terrible tragedy. We are all very upset here. Whatever we need to do, we'll do."

And that's the same thing we heard from tenants-anxious to prevent another tragic fall.

"My husband and I, we love our terrace. We love having a terrace, but we'll stay off, until further notice," adds Dougherty.