Watch CBS News

Facade Collapses Off Brownstone Building In Chelsea

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) - The Department of Buildings is investigating a brownstone facade collapse in Chelsea.

Dust could be seen swirling in front of the West 20th Street building after chunks of the building's facade came crashing down Monday around 9:30 a.m.

The deafening roar starling onlookers just feet away, reports CBS2's Christina Fan.

"Literally it came down in half a second," said neighbor Colleen Cunningham. "It was just like boom."

Nobody was injured, but this collapse was the latest in a series across the city.

No one was hurt in the Chelsea incident.

In December, a deadly facade collapse on Seventh Avenue near Times Square prompted CBS2 to look into the DOB's database, finding more than 11,000 open violations at buildings across all five boroughs.

The 729 Seventh Ave. incident killed 60-year-old Erica Tishman after she was struck by a piece of falling debris at a building near Times Square previously warned about the condition of its facade. The Department of Buildings to passed new rules, including more hands-on inspections, increased penalties for owners who fail to make repairs, and a requirement for landlords to post status of façades in lobbies.

"If you look at the infrastructure over there you can see cracks and that's exactly why it broke," said Abdul Houston of Queens. "The weather conditions and everything is changing."

The new rules only apply to buildings over six stories tall. The site of Monday's collapse was only three.

Families on Monday were asking city leaders how these smaller landlords will be held responsible. The DOB told CBS2 facade inspections for buildings six stories or fewer are complaint-driven right now.

Councilmember Robert Cornegy told us he agrees more needs to be done.

"We may increase the amount of inspections that are necessary over a period of time but we're not letting anybody off the hook," he said.

CBS2 reached out to the owner of today's collapse, who declined to comment.

The DOB says it is conducting a full investigation and will take issue violations if necessary.

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.