BROOKYLN — A brownstone building in Carroll Gardens collapsed early Monday with six people inside the structure, authorities said.
Emergency crews responded to the partial collapse at 241 Carroll St., between Court and Smith streets, at 1:13 a.m., the FDNY said.
"I could see the whole wall was gone," said Ed Mannix, 62, who lives nearby. "You could see into every floor. It looked like the whole wall peeled off."
All six people escaped with no injuries, officials said.
Four floors came down in the rear of the building, said Brooklyn Borough Commander James Leonard. A family who lives on the first and second floors of the structure happened to be on vacation, Leonard added.
"They were very, very fortunate they were on vacation," Leonard said. "The collapse went through the children's bunk beds on the first floor.
"Very, very fortunate that they were on vacation," he added.
At least two sides of the building sustained "serious" damage, the FDNY said. The building, built in the mid-1800s, likely came down because of deterioration and rotting wood, Leonard said.
The Department of Buildings was investigating the cause, too, and any work being done beforehand, a spokesman said.
A vacate order was issued for nearby buildings at 243 and 240 Carroll Street, as well as 115 and 117 First Place, said Tony Scaflani, a DOB spokesman. An inspector at the scene said the demolition of 241 Carroll St. would begin Tuesday morning, a process that should last about a week.
A spokesman for the American Red Cross said 15 units — housing 21 adults and six children — were affected.
"So far we have provided a family of six, two adults and four children, with emergency housing and funds for basic necessities like food and clothing," said Michael de Vulpillieres, a Red Cross spokesman.
Kyle Wright, 35, who was evacuated out of 240 Carroll Street, said it could have been worse for his family.
"It's difficult, but it's easier because my wife's away," he said. "She's six-months pregnant, so that would not be pleasant."
The owner of the building, Sisi Schneider, said she believed the structure was sturdy.
"It was a solid building," said Schneider, who rushed to the city after hearing the news. "It was not a cardboard box."
Officials said applications to renovate the building were approved in November 2011, but permits were never issued.
Schneider said she was just happy that no one was injured.
"It's traumatic, but it's a relief that everyone's okay," she said.
Susann Rendina, who lives two blocks away, said she was shocked by the collapse.
"It's just a freak thing," she said. "There's no construction. There was nothing being done.
"It's just unbelievable that this happened," she added.
Patrick Hedlund and Wil Cruz contributed to this article.