MORRIS HEIGHTS, Bronx – A six-story building partially collapsed on Monday afternoon, sending bricks and debris onto the sidewalk and nearby roofs. No injuries have been reported so far, but the search for survivors continues.
The incident happened at 1915 Billingsley Terrace around 3:30 p.m., where the building housed 47 residential units and six businesses. Firefighters and police arrived on the scene within two minutes and evacuated all the occupants from the damaged structure.
The cause of the collapse is still unknown, but the Department of Buildings Commissioner James Oddo said that the building had seven open violations, including “unsafe facade conditions”, which were not structural. He said that work was being done on the building as recently as a few days ago. The Housing Preservation and Development reported 178 violations in the last two years, of which 103 are still open.
Firefighters are conducting an active search for anyone who may be trapped under the rubble, using their hands, drones, robotics, and canine units. FDNY Commissioner Laura Kavanagh, who appeared live on CNN News, said that firefighters are trained for these situations using a rubble pile at the academy.
“We don’t know if anybody’s trapped under there, hopefully not,” FDNY Chief John Hodgens said. “But what we’re doing is we’re tunneling in that debris pile as safely as we can. Firefighters right now, we’re in a dangerous position. We don’t know what caused this corner of the building to come down and we don’t know if any more of it’s going to come down, but we’re searching for life and that’s our main objective at this time.”
The Red Cross is assisting the residents and families that have been displaced by the collapse, and some have been directed to a service center that has been set up at a public school nearby.
The Department of Buildings is on the scene and will conduct a structural stability inspection after the search is completed.
The partial building collapse has also affected the transportation in the area. Metro North Hudson line service was suspended in both directions between Grand Central and Spuyten Duyvil, but has since resumed with delays. Two bus routes, the Bx40 and Bx42, are experiencing detours. Customers can check the latest service information via the MyMTA app and their website.