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Two-Story Building Collapses Onto Jamaica Avenue, Officials Say

By Julie Shapiro | April 12, 2013 7:02pm | Updated on April 13, 2013 3:59pm

QUEENS — A two-story building collapsed onto Jamaica Avenue Friday evening, officials said.

The roof of a building at 78-19 Jamaica Ave., near 79th Street, collapsed on itself at about 6:30 p.m., an FDNY spokesman said.

Nobody was hurt in the collapse, a Buildings Department spokeswoman said Saturday, adding that the second story, where the roof fell to pieces, had been under a partial vacate order already.

According to neighboring tenants, the building had been vacant for three years, the NY Daily News reported.

Dozens of firefighters raced to the scene, along with inspectors from the Department of Buildings, who planned to inspect neighboring structures to ensure that they were sound, the FDNY spokesman said.

Several nearby vehicles were damaged by falling bricks, including a blue Chrysler Town & Country that was nearly flattened by the rubble.

Following the collapse, a vacate order was put in place for the entire building, the DOB spokeswoman said. The property had 11 environmental control board violations on file, nine of which were open, and had accrued $18,000 in fines, the spokeswoman, Gloria Chin, said.

Fines as recently as from 2012 included citations for failure to maintain the building, working without a permit, illegal plumbing, and structural stability issues.

The MTA suspended J train service between Crescent Street and 121st Street after the collapse. The elevated train tracks run along Jamaica Avenue, where the building collapsed. When it was resumed, operators were asked to keep train speeds to 10 miles per hour to avoid further disrupting the site, the News reported.

The building was issued a partial vacate order in February 2012 for "questionable construction methods" to support the roof and second floor, according to the DOB.

Engineers are continuing to assess the conditions of the property, Chin said on Saturday.