Chelsea Building Evacuated Following Partial Collapse Christmas Night

By Alan Neuhauser and Trevor Kapp  on December 26, 2012 10:27am  | Updated on December 26, 2012 11:19am

CHELSEA — Emergency workers evacuated dozens of apartments at a building in Chelsea on Christmas night after the structure's facade began to crumble, authorities said.

No injuries were reported in the collapse at 655 Sixth Ave., which occurred at roughly 8 p.m., the FDNY and city's Office of Emergency Management said. In all, 49 apartments, offices and retail shops were evacuated, but it was not clear how many people have been displaced. Emergency workers at the scene said some tenants will be allowed to return by Wednesday night.

"Part of the exterior facade started to crumble," an OEM spokeswoman said. An MTA bus was brought in to help transport people from the scene, which the spokeswoman described as "standard procedure."

The city's Department of Buildings was investigating the cause of the collapse Wednesday afternoon, and teams of workers were shoring-up the wall where pieces had started to fall.

"Right now they're working to stabilize it and put on whatever type of bracing might be needed," FDNY Battalion Chief Tom McCarthy said at the scene. "Right now, it's safe.... Everything's moving forward."

The five-story building has two open DOB violations from 2009 for a roof deck allegedly built without a permit, according to the DOB website.

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