Terrified pedestrians and school bus narrowly avoid disaster as six-story Bronx building COLLAPSES leaving families’ homes ripped open

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Written By Maya Cantina
  • A six-story building in the Morris Heights neighborhood partially collapsed
  • Several apartment units were left exposed to the street below
  • New York City Mayor Eric Adams praised the quick response of the emergency services who were on scene within 96 seconds 

Pedestrians walking along a Bronx street narrowly escaped with their lives as part of a six-story building crumbled to the ground just feet away from them on Monday afternoon. 

Surveillance video sees a school bus passing close by as suddenly the apartment building gave way without warning sending scaffolding and tonnes of concrete, bricks and twisted metal onto the street below. 

Passersby by could be seen running for cover away from the carnage which came without warning in the Morris Heights neighborhood at around 3.30pm as the school run was well underway.

Photos of the scene showed the bare walls of several units inside the apartment building with some completely exposed.

At ground-level it was a scene of complete destruction with a pile of rubble below.

A scaffolding shed at the foot of the building also toppled in the collapse and was surrounded by a heap of sheet metal, bricks, concrete and metal rods.

A school bus can be seen in the background just moments before part of a six-story building came down

Part of a six-story building crumbled to the ground in the Bronx on Monday afternoon, resulting in a scene of destruction with a pile of rubble below

Part of a six-story building crumbled to the ground in the Bronx on Monday afternoon, resulting in a scene of destruction with a pile of rubble below

A building facade collapsed in the Bronx as city agencies work to assess the situation

A building facade collapsed in the Bronx as city agencies work to assess the situation

Within an instant the street is consumed by a cloud of dust as bricks, concrete and twisted metal fell to the ground

Passersby quickly made a run for it

Within an instant the street is consumed by a cloud of dust as bricks, concrete and twisted metal fell to the ground, left. Passersby, right, quickly made a run for it

The building gave way without warning collapsing onto the scaffolding shed below

The building gave way without warning collapsing onto the scaffolding shed below

A bed can be seen teetering on the brink of an apartment building with its corners exposed

A bed can be seen teetering on the brink of an apartment building with its corners exposed

A firefighter can be seen peering into the now exposed apartments in the Bronx

A firefighter can be seen peering into the now exposed apartments in the Bronx

The apartment complex in the Morris Heights neighborhood partially collapsed around 3.30pm. It left a mangled mess of twisted metal and concrete below

The apartment complex in the Morris Heights neighborhood partially collapsed around 3.30pm. It left a mangled mess of twisted metal and concrete below

New York Mayor Eric Adams praised the quick response of the emergency services who were on scene within two minutes

New York Mayor Eric Adams praised the quick response of the emergency services who were on scene within two minutes

A building partially collapsed in the Bronx Monday afternoon, resulting in a scene of chaos and destruction

A building partially collapsed in the Bronx Monday afternoon, resulting in a scene of chaos and destruction

The bare walls of several units were exposed to the street below

The bare walls of several units were exposed to the street below. A pile of sheet metal, bricks and metal rods lay at the foot of the building

A pile of sheet metal, bricks and metal rods lay at the foot of the building

 A pile of sheet metal, bricks and metal rods lay at the foot of the building

The incident occurred at 1915 Billingsly Terrace in Morris Heights around 3.30pm

The incident occurred at 1915 Billingsly Terrace in Morris Heights around 3.30pm

Rescue crews equipped with police dogs responded at the scene of the collapsed building, searching for residents or pedestrians who may still be trapped inside.

A convenience store was partly buried under bricks and wood. 

There were no reports of injuries as of early evening and the proprietor of the ground floor shop said the people inside got out safely, city officials said. 

But firefighters used buckets, power tools and heavy equipment to pick through the debris, while officials kept a watchful eye on the portions of the building that remained standing. 

‘Our main objective is to get to the bottom of that pile,’ Fire Department Chief of Department John Hodgens said at a news conference. ‘We’ll be here until it’s down to the street level, just to make sure if there are any victims under there, hopefully we can get to them in time.

‘We’re tunneling into that debris pile as safely as we can,’ Hodgens explained. ‘Firefighters right now are in a dangerous position. We don’t know what caused this corner of this building to come down. We don’t know if any of it is going to come down.’ 

New York City Mayor Eric Adams praised the quick response of the emergency services who were on scene within 96 seconds. 

Video showed a corner of the six-story building with its walls sheared off and floors sagging, with a heap of rubble spilling out into the street. 

A search dog plied the pile of debris which included twisted and jumbled metal from scaffolding that had stood around part of the building. The building had been undergoing facade repairs.

A portrait could be seen hanging on the wall and was visible in one of the walls of apartments. In another, what appeared to be a bed stood feet away from the unprotected exposed edge of the floor. 

Elsewhere, an armchair rested on a floor that tilted precariously down, like the top of a staved-in box. 

One of the collapsed rooms appeared to be a child’s bedroom. A tiny pink jacket hung on a hook. Boxes of playthings and clothing were visible on cabinets that still stood on the remaining parts of the floor. 

Firefighters could be seen shining bright lights into apartment windows from high ladders. 

At least one drone could also be seen hovering feet away from where the wall had fallen into the street. 

Firefighters carted away rubble in buckets and used circular saws to cut through the collapsed scaffolding. But then firefighters pulled back from the rubble, at least for a time. 

Footage from outside the building showed how the floors appear to fall on top of one another

Footage from outside the building showed how the floors appear to fall on top of one another

The FDNY is searching for anyone possibly trapped in the rubble

The FDNY is searching for anyone possibly trapped in the rubble

The corner of the building appeared to have completely broken away in the collapse

The corner of the building appeared to have completely broken away in the collapse

No injuries had been reported as of an hour after the collapse

No injuries had been reported as of an hour after the collapse

People were advised to steer clear of West Burnside Avenue between Osborne Place and Phelan Place in the Bronx

People were advised to steer clear of West Burnside Avenue between Osborne Place and Phelan Place in the Bronx

Rescue crews equipped with police dogs are searching for residents who may have been trapped inside

Rescue crews equipped with police dogs are searching for residents who may have been trapped inside

The corner of the building appears to have collapsed to the sidewalk down below

Crews continued to search at the scene on Monday evening

Crews continued to search at the scene on Monday evening 

Firefighters had to use tools to cut into piping to continue their search efforts

Firefighters had to use tools to cut into piping to continue their search efforts 

Items from people's homes could be seen among the rubble on Monday evening

Items from people’s homes could be seen among the rubble on Monday evening

The Buildings Department said inspectors were at the scene, investigating.

A worker at a nearby deli, Julian Rodriguez, said he was behind the counter when he heard people screaming about a building collapse.

‘When I went outside, all you could see is the debris and a smoke cloud in the street,’ said Rodriguez, 22. ‘And you could see inside the structure: people’s beds, their doors, closets, lights, everything. It was really scary.’

Buildings Department records show the structure dates to 1927 and has about four dozen apartments. 

The NYPD advised the public to avoid the area of West Burnside Avenue between Osborne Place and Phelan Place in the Bronx. 

New York City Emergency Management also warned of traffic delays and road closures nearby.

There were no reports of injuries by early evening, but firefighters were continuing to search. 

‘We have no report of injuries at this time but our members, including our K-9 team, are looking for any people trapped,’ Fire Commissioner Laura Kavanagh said on X just before 5pm.

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