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Brooklyn Building Partially Collapses for Second Time in a Month

By  Theodore Parisienne and Paul DeBenedetto | July 16, 2012 12:29pm 

The collapsed building at 552 Ovington Avenue on Monday July 16th, 2012.
The collapsed building at 552 Ovington Avenue on Monday July 16th, 2012.
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DNAinfo/Theodore Parisienne

BAY RIDGE — A Bay Ridge building that neighbors say has been abandoned for years partially collapsed on Monday for the second time in a month, according to Building Department records.

An exterior wall on the building at 552 Ovington Ave. collapsed at 3:10 a.m., compromising the rest of the structure, an FDNY spokesman said.

The accident was no surprise to neighbors, they said.

Steven McGarry lives next door and remembered a June 8 incident in which the building's second floor collapsed into the first.

He said he was awake in his bed when Monday's collapse happened.

"I heard like a five or ten second rumble and I said, 'there goes the house,'" McGarry said.

"They said they're going to have it down by the end of the day. If not I'll go stay with my brother, or I'll find a friend to stay with."

Seven families were evacuated from surrounding homes, according to the FDNY spokesman. 

"My bedroom is right where it hit so I heard most of it come down," said one evacuee, who asked not to be identified. "It's been going on for years like this. I've just had it up to here, I'm sick and tired."

A Buildings Department spokeswoman confirmed that the building, owned by Mousa Khalil, was scheduled to be demolished by the end of the day.

Khalil's properties have come into trouble in the past. In January, the Department of Finance took over a group of properties owned by Khalil and put them up for auction, according to Brooklyn real estate blog Brownstoner.

Justin Brannan, the press secretary for Councilman Vincent Gentile, who represents the neighborhood, said that residents have lodged formal complaints about the building in the past, but to no avail.

“Residents on the block have reported that the building has been shaking/vibrating for several weeks," Brannan said in an email. "It is unacceptable that a building must collapse before getting the attention of the pertinent agencies.”