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3 Injured As Vacant Building Collapses In Brooklyn

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) --It happened without warning. A boom followed by a cloud of choking dust, braved by several good Samaritans who checked for victims.

Three passersby suffered minor injuries Tuesday afternoon when a vacant building collapsed in Brooklyn, police and city officials said.

The four-story building at 1438 Fulton St. near Tompkins Avenue in Bedford-Stuyvesant collapsed at around 2:30 p.m.

"It was a crazy scene out here, reminded me of World Trade Center, so much smoke I was like 'ugh,'" Miz Brown said.

PHOTOS: Building Collapse In Bed-Stuy

The cause of the collapse wasn't immediately clear.

The building was being prepped for demolition. The fourth floor somehow collapsed onto the third, which then pancaked onto the second, and that sent bricks and wood flying out onto the busy shopping street, CBS2's Tony Aiello reported.

3 Injured As Vacant Building Collapses In Brooklyn

A bicyclist and two other people were hurt, police said.

"Three injuries from people in the vicinity of the building, all minor and all removed to area hospitals," FDNY Deputy Chief Wayne Cartwright told reporters, including 1010 WINS' Al Jones.

"I was just walking right here, and I just heard a big kaboom," one witness said. "I was like, 'Yeah, what happened?' ... It was a lot of dust."

"I heard a bang, and I was wondering what happened," said a woman who lives nearby. "And I came out and I looked and the whole building came down. That building been closed over 20 years plus."

A yellow sign for what was once a beauty supply store now dangles over the splintered wood and shattered bricks on the sidewalk, WCBS 880's Alex Silverman reported.

"At first it sounded like a car crashed into a building," said one witness.

Ahmed Saleh said he was nearby when the collapse happened and saw someone injured by the falling debris.

3 Injured As Vacant Building Collapses In Brooklyn

"I only seen one (person) get hit and he fell down," Saleh told Silverman. "It was a pretty elderly gentleman and he was on his bike, and he got hit and he fell on the ground."

The Department of Buildings said there are no outstanding violations at the demolition site.

Records show a number of complaints over the years about falling bricks and an unstable facade, but the complaints were resolved.

A federal investigator stopped by the scene, but there's no evidence of criminality.

Officials were concerned about the adjoining building, which has tenants and was evacuated.

Workers used a tarp to cover holes in that structure's roof and the wall it shared with the building that collapsed.

The adjacent building at 1440 Fulton St. was later determined to be structurally sound.

Because of the collapse, A and C trains experienced delays Tuesday afternoon.

Demolition was under way at the collapsed building through the night late Tuesday.

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