Building Facade and Scaffolding Collapse onto Bus in Harlem: FDNY

By Jonathan Vigliotti, DeMarco Morgan and Roseanne Colletti
|  Tuesday, Sep 20, 2011  |  Updated 8:03 PM EDT
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People who live in the area say they saw problems with the metal structure days before the accident.

People who live in the area say they saw problems with the metal structure days before the accident.

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The front facade and scaffolding on a building under demolition collapsed onto a bus in Harlem Tuesday morning, injuring 18 people.

The scaffolding and facade fell onto the bus at 125th Street and Frederick Douglass Boulevard, near Modell's Sporting Goods.

"Me and another woman ran," said one witness at the scene. "The bricks came tumbling down on top of it, with all the metal. People were walking underneath the scaffold when it collapsed."

The FDNY said 18 people, including bus passengers, building workers and two police officers, were hurt with injuries that were not life-threatening. Among those being checked out was a pregnant woman whose family said she was pushed around as people scrambled to safety.

An employee of Modell's described an active rescue scene teeming with fire, police and other emergency workers.

“The building has collapsed on the bus, on the street, on the sidewalk,” said the Modell’s employee, who did not give his name. “It looks kind of bad. They are not sure if people are trapped under stuff on the sidewalk. They are not sure.”

A complaint was made to the Buildings Department on Sept. 7 that bricks were falling off the building as workers used sledge hammers in a demolition operation. Records show an inspection was conducted the same day and no violations were warranted.

Ken Johnson said he saw debris falling there two weeks ago.

"As I was walking on this side of the street, all of a sudden it started raining bricks," he said.

DOB said Tuesday that it was investigating what work had been done since its inspection.

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