On Monday afternoon, a seven-story structure collapsed in the Bronx. Firefighters inspected the 12-foot-tall mound of wreckage and thankfully discovered that no one had perished or been gravely hurt.
Two individuals were taken to the hospital with minor injuries while trying to escape the building, according to the fire department’s announcement on Monday night.
At a press conference earlier in the night outside the 46-unit building in the Morris Heights neighborhood, head of department John J. Hodgens said that authorities still do not know what caused the partial collapse.
Photos and videos captured what seemed to be rooms on the corner of the 1915 Billingsley Terrace building with their walls torn out. Hidden among the metal and wood fragments were reminders of the lives upended by the partial collapse.
A mess of walls and bricks lay on the street below the apartments, which were now exposed to the chilly afternoon air.
As firemen continue their search, the locals have been ordered to evacuate to an adjacent school.
The fire department arrived in less than two minutes. According to Commissioner Kavanagh, a canine squad was sent in to assist with the hunt for anybody who may be trapped. A drone had also been dispatched to aid with the hunt.
Over 170 individuals, including 44 children, lived in the structure, still without a home. According to the city’s Office of Emergency Management, resident escorts were sent in to help residents in the south and north wings collect their possessions.
The structure’s safety has been a concern for quite some time, as shown in the city’s construction records. A market at the intersection of West Burnside Avenue and Phelan Place is one of several establishments on the ground level.
For “deteriorated and damaged mudsills” at the foot of the scaffolding that encircled the property, the Department of Buildings fined the building owner $2,400 last month.
According to the fine, the scaffolding’s “structural stability causing a possible collapse” might be compromised due to the damage.
According to the OED, workers have begun shoring up the collapsed section of the building, implementing safety measures, and installing additional lighting to restore residents’ access.