Globetrotting CNN anchor Anderson Cooper is often at the scene of danger, but he allegedly overlooked a potentially deadly hazard in the Greenwich Village firehouse he's converting into a new home.
A 29-year-old interior designer is suing Cooper and the company owned by downtown architect and residential real-estate developer Cary Tamarkin after she fell through a hole that once accommodated a fire pole.
"She's lucky she's alive," lawyer Neil Greenberg said of his client, Killian O'Brien, of Brooklyn.
O'Brien fell on Sept. 22 while she was working at the former firehouse at 84 W. Third St.
"The hole should have been securely covered," Greenberg said. "The poles were removed. Somebody opened up the coverings before she got there."
A 17-foot fall can be fatal. The lawsuit calls O'Brien's injuries severe and permanent, but Greenberg declined to describe them in detail.
The lawsuit, filed in November in state Supreme Court in Manhattan, seeks unspecified damages.
Cooper declined comment through a spokesman, and Tamarkin could not be reached. Greenberg said he believed Cooper's lawyers were still investigating the matter.
Through a holding company, Cooper bought the firehouse in September from the New York Board of Fire Underwriters for $4.3 million, and neighbors say he has been a regular visitor since then.
One of his first moves was to hire Tamarkin, known for modern residential restoration and construction in the Village, the Meatpacking District and other trendy neighborhoods.
O'Brien has worked for several companies that specialize in upscale interior design. She could not be reached yesterday.
The firehouse was home to the insurance-industry-backed Fire Patrol 2 from 1906 until 2006, when it was disbanded. The New York Board of Fire Underwriters, which oversaw the fire patrol, held onto the building until it was sold to Cooper.
He hasn't yet filed renovation plans with the city, but workers are already tearing down partitions and ripping out old plumbing fixtures.
The building was nominated in January for a spot on the National Register of Historic Places, which, besides ensuring the preservation of its facade, would also give Cooper a slew of tax breaks.