Chinatown apartment building evacuated after bulging façade found

ByEyewitness News WABC logo
Thursday, March 2, 2023
Chinatown apartment building evacuated due to bulging façade
A building in Chinatown was evacuated Wednesday for fear of collapse after a brick facade partially separated. Josh Einiger has the story.

CHINATOWN, Manhattan (WABC) -- A building in Chinatown was evacuated Wednesday for fear of collapse after a brick facade partially separated.

The FDNY requested Department of Building inspectors to perform a structural stability inspection at 111 Mott Street.

Inspectors found a section of masonry brick work that was partially detached and was in danger of collapsing on the sidewalk.

They also found a fire escape that was damaged with corrosion and had steps that were partially detached, blocking passage for some tenants in the building.

The response came after resident Rachel Bryant woke up this Wednesday morning and looked out the window. She couldn't believe her eyes.

"They're just like leaning off, the whole front of the face of the building is all attached together, and then it's all going to collapse with the fire escapes and everything off the side of the building," resident Rachel Bryant said.

She called the fire department, which called the buildings department.

The buildings department issued a Full Vacate Order on 111 Mott Street and also a Partial Vacate Order for the first-floor commercial space at 109 Mott Street.

Before long, occupants of more than a dozen apartments were told they had to pack and leave for at least two to three days.

"I got bills, contacts, food cause I was like, the food is going to go bad, clothes for like a week, computer, work stuff," resident Claire Cohen said. "Pretty much my life for a week in bags.

The Red Cross is assisting 15 people in 9 apartments. Others are staying with either family or friends.

Fortunately, no injuries have been reported so far.

It's a major inconvenience for people who live in the building, but city inspectors say they're glad they got there when they did. If the facade had crumbled to the sidewalk, it could have been a whole different story.

The DOB says the only active permit at 111 Mott Street was related to electrical wiring work.

An investigation is underway into the building's troubled past.

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