Multi-story crack opens on Upper East Side apartment, leaves tenants displaced

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300 E. 96th St.
FDNY rushed to the Upper East Side at 1:45 p.m. Nov. 9 to evaluate a multi-story crack on an apartment building (Wikimedia, http://commons.wikimedia.com)

Tenants of an apartment building located at 300 E. 96th St. were forced to evacuate their units Nov. 9 when a multi-story crack opened and posed a risk of possible collapse.

According to officials from the New York City Fire Department who inspected the building and facilitated the evacuation of 30 tenants, a two-inch wide crack was found on the exterior of a load-bearing wall. It extended from the roof of the seven-story apartment down to the second floor.

One of the tenants, Lara Wilson told CBS that she noticed a crack in her sixth-floor duplex a couple of months ago. She claimed that management had known about it for some time but only took action on Nov. 9.

Wilson and her boyfriend were asked to move to a lower floor as engineers were called in to fix the crack. “Today, we looked at it, you could see out to the streets. And now to see that it’s affecting the whole building is scary,” said Wilson.

Work on the crack was underway when a tenant, not identified by officials and reports, called 911. Electronic monitors were already placed on the crack by the building’s management company, Walter-Samuels, when FDNY arrived for evaluation.

“They showed movement. They showed an inch separation in 24 hours, so the wall is moving,” said Roger Sakowich, borough commander of FDNY Manhattan.

The cause of the crack remains unknown. Tenants suspect that nearby construction could have shaken the building but fire officials said it is too early to tell.

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