DOB investigating partial collapse of Bronx building

No major injuries reported at Morris Heights property with track record of violations

NYC DOB Probing Bronx Building’s Partial Collapse

1915 Billingsley Terrace in Morris Heights (Getty)

In a harrowing incident, a six-story residential building in the Morris Heights section of the Bronx partially collapsed on Monday afternoon.

The partial collapse of the 46-unit property at 1915 Billingsley Terrace at about 3:30 p.m. didn’t appear to cause any major injuries, according to multiple outlets. Responders did use K-9 teams to search for any trapped victims, Gothamist reported.

No other buildings were impacted by the collapse, though some local businesses were evacuated. In addition to the residences, the building on Billingsley Terrace includes a half-dozen commercial units.

The incident on the corner exposed the interior of the building and left floors dangling in the cold wind. An apartment bedroom on the building’s top floor was visible to pedestrians on the street.

Violations have been present at the property, which has been undergoing facade repairs. Just last month, contractors at the site were fined $2,400 for broken mudsills under scaffolding, wood elements used at the foundation level for support. A Department of Buildings inspector said at the time that the violation could affect the scaffolding structure.

In May 2018, ownership was fined $1,360 after missing an inspection of the exterior walls. The Department of Housing Preservation issued at least 103 violations at the building, nearly half of which were deemed “immediately hazardous.”

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There have also been several lawsuits filed against ownership over at least five people claiming they suffered injuries at the property.

“We don’t know what caused the corner of the building to come down, and we don’t know if any more of it is going to come down,” FDNY Chief of Department John Hodgens said on Monday night; the fire department is not the lead investigator for the collapse.

Department of Buildings Commissioner Jimmy Oddo said the 1927 building had seven unsafe facade conditions, according to an ownership report submitted to DOB, but cautioned that the report didn’t necessarily mean the building was unsafe. 

The department is leading the investigation into the collapse and told The Real Deal the probe was ongoing as of Tuesday morning.

The building is owned by a shell company that purchased the site for $3 million in 2004, according to Crain’s. Ownership took out a $5.5 million loan on the property from JPMorgan Chase two years ago. The head officer of the limited liability company is listed as Yonah Roth, who did not respond to attempted phone calls by Gothamist.

Residents of the building were ushered to a nearby school, where officials worked to find the displaced places to stay.

Holden Walter-Warner

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