Building in Williamsburg has second partial collapse of roof in two years

ByEyewitness News WABC logo
Monday, May 20, 2024
Brooklyn building that had partial collapse has history of problems
Raegan Medgie has the story in Brooklyn on the birdge collapse.

WILLIAMSBURG, Brooklyn (WABC) -- Records show a history of problems at the Brooklyn building that suffered a partial roof collapse on Sunday.

Metal came crashing onto Roebling Street in Williamsburg at around 4:30 p.m. The building was the site of another partial collapse in July 2022.

In the previous collapse, a different portion of the parapet fell, but since then, no work has been done to fix the aging building, officials said.

Thankfully, no injuries were reported from the collapse.

"It was kind of a glacier, so a little bit fell. Then a little bit -- then a little bit more," said Eyewitness Colm Dillane.

The roof crashed down onto a sidewalk shed, which then collapsed from all the weight. Bricks and debris showered down and damaged the cars below.

"When I looked to my left up Roebling, I just saw the smoke come out under force. Retired, the best thing you can do is stay out of the way and make a phone call, and that's what I did," retired firefighter Kenny Smyth said.

The portion of the roof that gave way was the parapet -- it is what lines the roof to keep people on top safe -- except in this case, it became the danger zone.

"A lot of debris is on the fire escape. The fear is all that debris on the fire escape could pull the fire escape down, pull the wall down," said FDNY Assistant Chief Mike Meyers. The area surrounding the building was closed down as a precaution.

More than 100 firefighters responded in what they call a 'major collapse matrix,' which includes building experts and medical teams. No one was found trapped under the debris field -- or inside the building, which is vacant.

The Department of Buildings has ordered the property owner to hire an engineer to complete a full engineering report on the vacant warehouse.

The DOB is taking the owner to court with an OATH hearing scheduled for July 24.

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