Partial building collapse under investigation in The Bronx

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New York Construction Report staff writer

Officials say it’s a miracle that nobody was seriously injured in a partial building collapse in the Bronx on Monday. The collapse happened at a seven-story occupied building at 1915 Billingsley Terrace around 3:30 p.m. on Dec. 11.

Firefighters spent hours searching a pile of debris that was up to 12 feet high in spots. No victims were found in the rubble and two people suffered minor injuries while evacuating the damaged building, according to the fire department.

There are currently seven open violations for the site, but building officials emphasized that none are for structural issues.

“Any building that’s higher than six stories falls into the jurisdiction of our facade law in New York City,” Commissioner James Oddo, Department of Buildings said at a news conference. d“These folks, the owner of this building submitted their most recent report in March of ’21.

“That report did find unsafe facade conditions, seven of them: mortar that was deteriorating, cracked bricks.

A review of the building’s violation history “found that none of the open HPD/DOB violations are related to structural issues. Sidewalk shed maintenance, mold, pests – we take all of these issues seriously, but they don’t indicate threats to a building’s structural stability.”

The collapse ripped the corner off the building at 1915 Billingsley Terrace, leaving apartments exposed and a convenience store partly buried under bricks and wood.

There is an active permit valid until next summer and work was being done on the building as recently as a few days ago.

“I know you’ll be interested in the history of the building in terms of violations,” Oddo said. “There are seven… Right now we see seven open violations, five ECB, two DOB, but they are not structural violations, it has to do with the sidewalk shed, the fact that it didn’t have proper lighting, et cetera.

A 2020 inspection found cracked brick and loose, damaged mortar on the building’s facade, Buildings Department records show. Oddo said Monday that work had started but he didn’t believe any workers were there at the time of the collapse.

“I want to be clear: Unsafe facade conditions is not the same as an unsafe building,” he said at the news conference  “While the property had seven unresolved violations, they weren’t structural, he said. Five of them were Office of Administrative Trials and Hearings (OATH) and Environmental Control Board (ECB) violations, while the other two were DOB violations.

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