Cracked Building Evacuated On Avenue B [Updated]

Manhattan-20130416-00678Ray Lemoine

A dozen people were evacuated from a five-story apartment building at 28 Avenue B after debris fell from it shortly before 3:15 p.m. today, the fire department said.

The building, between Second and Third Streets, was evacuated after a tenant called to say her walls were cracking, according to one of dozens of firefighters that have converged on the scene. A crack running along the back of the building — visible from the adjacent Miracle Garden — has loosened a second-floor window pane and runs from the vents belonging to the bottom-floor tenant, Croxley Ales, to the roof.

Construction of a six-story building recently started in an empty lot next to 28 Avenue B. A complaint to 311 alleges that excavation at the lot “has hit and damaged building with large gaping space on out facade, brick is falling.” The Department of Buildings has been requested at the scene.

A foreman at the construction site, who gave his name as Lance but declined to offer a last name because he didn’t want to lose his job, said, “It’s one tenant who has a hard-on for us. She ran out of people to call.”

Hank Fury, 43, a resident of the building, told a different story. He said his landlord had been fighting the construction company for months. “Yesterday a big crack went across the ceiling, then today the crack got bigger,” said Mr. Fury. “The super came up and was like, ‘Wow.’ He put his hand through the crack.”

Yellow tape now blocks the sidewalk on Avenue B, between 28 and 32. A battalion chief said the block would be closed down.

Update, 7 p.m. The Office of Emergency Management has announced, via Twitter, that the block is no longer closed.

Update, 7:20 p.m. The Department of Buildings has slapped the building with a vacate order, as indicated by the photo below. A DOB employee who did not give a name said, “I can’t say how long it will take for them to fix this — think weeks, not days.” Tenants were spotted moving personal possessions out of the building, as you can see below.

UntitledRay LeMoine
UntitledRay LeMoine