Scaffolding, Partial Building Collapse Injures 18 in Harlem, New York City

Eighteen people were injured yesterday when <"">scaffolding and part of a Harlem building undergoing demolition collapsed onto a New York City bus. According to a report from the Columbia Spectator, 11 people were transported to local hospitals, all with minor injuries.

The accident occurred at t West 125th Street and Frederick Douglass Boulevard. The scaffolding collapsed and fell onto a Bx15 bus at 9:26 a.m. According to a report from The New York Times, eight of the injured people were passengers on the bus, while two police officers sustained minor injuries.

A police spokesperson told the Times that preliminary reports indicated that during work on the elevator shaft in the building, bricks fell from building onto the scaffolding, knocking it down. The buildings immediately neighboring the site partially collapsed after the first building went down.

A witness told the Times that the scene on the bus right after the collapse was one of chaos.

“People were running from the back and screaming. After about a minute, the bus driver let everyone off the bus. I talked to a kid in the back who said he thought he was going to die. He said rubble had fallen through the windows of the bus,” Sasha Chavkin, a reporter for The New York World, told the Times.

According to the Columbia Spectator report, the owner of the five-story building filed the permit for demolition in April and began installing scaffolding and a sidewalk shed in June. Department of Buildings (DOB) records indicate it had been vacant since 2005, and according to the Spectator, was part of the Brownfield Cleanup Program, an environmental initiative by the state to redevelop and reuse contaminated properties.

The Spectator is also reporting that a complaint was filed on September 7 with the DOB claiming that bricks from the ongoing demolition were falling onto the sidewalk. However, no violations were issued following an inspection.

Tracy Williams, 49, who passes under the site regularly, told that falling bricks were common.

“If you were standing on the opposite side of Eighth Avenue waiting for the light you see the bricks falling and falling. People would stand their and say that’s a disaster waiting to happen,” she said.

According to the DOB, violations will be issued following yesterday’s accident. Queens-based Disano Demolition will be hit with six violations, while the owner of the building will face one violation. Councilwoman Inez Dickens, who informed of the violations, said equipment was found that should not have been on the site and the demolition was not done correctly.

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