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6-Story Residential Building Partly Collapses in the Bronx

Part of a six-story building in the Morris Heights neighborhood of the Bronx collapsed on Monday afternoon. There were no immediate reports of injuries, the Fire Department said.

Initial photographs and videos show rooms at the corner of the 46-unit building exposed, almost as if the walls had been ripped off. Evidence of the lives disrupted by the partial collapse peeked out of the tangle of metal and wood.

On the street below, walls and bricks lay in a jumble below the apartments, left exposed to the cold afternoon air.

The Fire Department cautioned that its investigation of the collapse, at 1915 Billingsley Terrace, was in preliminary stages. Laura Kavanagh, the fire commissioner, said on Twitter that firefighters were looking for people who might be trapped.

There have been questions around the building’s safety for years, according to city building records. The ground floor has several stores, including a market at the corner of West Burnside Avenue and Phelan Place.

Just last month, the Department of Buildings issued a $2,400 fine to the building’s owner for “deteriorated and broken mudsills” at the base of scaffolding that wrapped the property. The damage could affect “the structural stability causing a potential collapse,” the fine read.

The building is owned by a limited liability company, 1915 Realty, which bought the property in 2004 for $3 million, records show.

After the collapse on Monday, the city’s Emergency Management Department issued a request for a structural stability inspection of the site.

In 2020, the building’s brick facade was deemed “unsafe” after a required inspection of it by a structural engineer revealed “significant masonry damage throughout the facade,” including cracks in the brick. The owner was ordered to repair the exterior; it was not immediately known on Monday whether the repairs had been completed.

The engineer’s report determined that the deterioration was “generally caused by aging” as well as exposure to the elements.

This is a developing story. Check back here for updates.

Maria Cramer contributed reporting.

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