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Five Balconies Collapse in New York

Thursday, September 1, 2016

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Authorities are investigating what caused multiple balconies to collapse Tuesday (Aug. 30) morning at an aging apartment complex in Long Island, NY.

Various reports say five brick facade balconies fell on top of one another around 7:30 a.m. at the three-story Sunlit Terrace Apartments in Long Beach.

No injuries were reported in the incident.

The Collapse

“I heard all this noise, and it sounded like the garbage man was just having a really hard time,” one neighbor, who lives across the street from the apartment building, told a local CBS television affiliate. “So I went to the window and then it [the apartment balcony] started to collapse.”

Even after the collapse, chunks of brick continued to rain down throughout the morning, Newsday reported.

Long Beach Fire Department Chief Robert Tuccillo told reporters that the middle balcony may have been the first to cave in.

"Thank God it happened early in the morning,” he told ABC7. “No one was sitting on their patios. No one was walking by."

The building was said to have been built in the late 1940s and did not have any past code violations, reports related.

Recent Scaffolding

Residents told local media outlets that they had been complaining to the building’s landlord about decaying bricks on their patios for several months.

However, the building owner Carmine Tepedino, who also lives in the building, said he first learned about the damage two weeks ago and warned tenants to stay off the balconies, according to Newsday.

Fire officials told reporters that a few days before the collapse a construction company had set up scaffolding to repair decaying bricks on the balconies.

Google
 © 2016 Google

This Google Maps Street View image shows the building in February 2013.

However, Tuccillo suggested that the installation may have played a role in the collapse.

“This wasn’t safe from the get go,” Tuccillo told ABC7. “That scaffolding just helped it come down.”

Engineers: Remove Balconies

While the city’s Building Department is conducting a full-scale investigation to determine the exact cause; engineers inspected the balconies Tuesday afternoon for safety, reports noted.

The engineers determined that many of the remaining balconies on the building would need to come down due to brick and concrete decay.

The age of the building and corrosion from the salt air were the likely culprits, Tuccillo told CBS.

Describing the collapsed balconies, Tuccillo said, “The steel is completely gone; there’s really nothing left of the steel that was there. That’s how rotten it was and decayed.”

Meanwhile, about a third of the residents living in the building’s 49 units had not been allowed to return home as of Wednesday morning, officials told reporters.

   

Tagged categories: Accidents; Brick; Building facades; concrete; Deterioration; Health and safety; Scaffolding

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