Severe weather causes retaining wall collapse in Tremont, forcing evacuations

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Tuesday, May 2, 2023
Retaining wall collapses in the Bronx due to severe weather
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A retaining wall in the Bronx collapsed on Sunday, forcing residents to evacuate a six-story building in Tremont. Lucy Yang has the latest details.

TRI-STATE (WABC) -- Sunday's relentless downpours caused flooding, downed trees, and major traffic problems across the Tri-state area.

Over in the Bronx, the severe weather caused a retaining wall to collapse in Tremont.

The wall was reduced to just bricks on East 180th Street behind Valentine Avenue Monday morning. It is connected to a six-story apartment building, which was evacuated at around 5:45 p.m. Sunday.

The apartment building is located on a steep incline, so that wall that collapsed is critical.

Officials said the building could be occupied later Monday, except for the ground floor, leaving five apartments still evacuated.

About two dozen families have been ordered to vacate.

On the back side of the block, residents told not to use their back yards until it is shored up again.

However, the Department of Buildings evacuated 20 more apartments on the upper floors of 2085 Valentine Avenue amid increasing concerns about the structural stability of the damaged rear wall of the building, and a tree that has fallen onto the building.

"We thought it was thunder and when we came into the bedroom all we saw was all of this disaster back here," said Ashley Bautista, whose home was destroyed in the collapse.

Mayor Eric Adams sent out a message that no one was hurt and that the Red Cross was assisting the residents.

"They helped us out, they found us a shelter to stay at, which was at the hotel, but we want to know what's going to happen next," Bautista said.

Basement collapse in Freehold

The basement of a home on Hibernia Way in Freehold collapsed due to flooding on Monday.

One of the sides of the house was blown out enough to compromise the integrity of the home and a construction official deemed it uninhabitable until it can be looked at.

The homeowner said they were home at the time and heard the cracking.

Fortunately no injuries were reported.

Asbury Park crews said the recent rainfall has kept them busy and offered some advice as the ground remains saturated: look out for bulging or cracking seepage. The best thing to do is to get a contractor out sooner rather than later to take a look.

Flooded roads across the Tri-State

The Cross Island Parkway was just one of several parkways that became a raging river during Sunday's storm.

"Bronx River, shut down, Sprain - shut down. I didn't take 287 because I figured the traffic would be nasty. Hutchinson shut down," said Rich Berrios.

Berrios took an extra 40 minutes to get from White Plains to Yonkers - but at least kept moving. He avoided the miserable mess on the Saw Mill River Parkway in Yonkers, just north of McLean Avenue.

In Queens, drivers got stranded on a flooded highway that is not a parkway - the LIE.

"We were out there an hour calling 911 four times. The firemen came, they said they couldn't help us. 311 couldn't help us. Nobody could help us until this last group of policemen came and said 'go into the Marriott,'" said Jerry Dellova.

Drivers in Jersey City and Newark saw high water levels on the roads Sunday evening. Although many cars were stuck on the roadways, no injuries have been reported.

Other damage from the storms

In Chelsea, crews arrived Monday morning to clean up trees that toppled down on parked cars.

Janice Yu reported in front of broken branches and damaged cars near 7th Avenue and West 21st Street. No injuries were reported.

The basement of a home in Freehold collapsed due to flooding. One of the sides of the home was blown out, compromising the integrity of the home.

Toni Yates spoke with local officials about the repair efforts.

Back in Yonkers, the heavy downpours are also suspected in a retaining wall collapse on Elizabeth Place. The home's owner tells Eyewitness News that the wall collapsed right into her living and dining room. Thankfully, no one was hurt.


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