Building collapses in Lower Manhattan

(AP) - Part of a vacant five-story building that hadrecently been cited for loose bricks and cracks collapsed in lowerManhattan on Thursday morning, leaving a mound of rubble butapparently causing no

News 12 Staff

Apr 30, 2009, 5:29 PM

Updated 5,554 days ago

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(AP) - Part of a vacant five-story building that hadrecently been cited for loose bricks and cracks collapsed in lowerManhattan on Thursday morning, leaving a mound of rubble butapparently causing no injuries. Emergency crews with a dog were searching the site and aneighboring building as a precaution. Gas was shut off in the area. Lewis Largent, who lives directly across the street, was lookingout the window at 6:15 a.m. when "the bricks started trickling offthe top corner. I was thinking was it raining or something. Thenwithin 10 seconds it just all came down like a wave or anavalanche." Inspectors with the Buildings Department were at the scene,about seven blocks north of the World Trade Center site. The causewas not immediately determined. It appeared the front half of the building at 71 Reade St. wassheared off in the collapse, and interior floors were visible fromthe street. Mounds of bricks were on the ground, and pieces of woodwere hanging from what remained of the structure. A car on thestreet was covered in rubble. Some work was being done to shore up the building, which is nextdoor to a construction site, according to Buildings CommissionerRobert LiMandri. Inspectors had been there this week. On Wednesday, violations were issued for loose bricks and cracksthroughout its north and west side, according to city records. OnTuesday, the city cited it for being vacant, open and unguardedafter a caller complained the building was abandoned. On April 10,the city cited the property for having unrepaired cracks on itsparapet and window sills. The collapse occurred before the normally busy flow ofpedestrians and traffic. The neighborhood is part of an officially designated historicdistrict in the Tribeca section of Manhattan, but the building wasconstructed in the late 1980s. A neighborhood businessman said he was worried about a homelessman who often slept outside the building. Kody Tokar, who owns an elevator company across the street,arrived about 45 minutes after the collapse. He said the homeless man was "always sleeping there," underscaffolding in front of the building. Tokar said he saw bricks dropping off the building on Wednesday,and also noticed some cracks. He and others who work in the neighborhood had joked in the pastthat they didn't want to park there. "The building looked like it was going to fall for a while,"Tokar said. He said the building had been empty for several years. He saidsomething was being built next door, and there was excavation inthat lot. But Lisa Schiller, a 20-year resident of the neighborhood, saidshe was surprised that the collapse occurred there. "We're a little freaked out about it," Schiller said when shecame out for her morning walk and saw the commotion.


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