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First Avenue Partially Closed After Wall Collapses Into Street, City Says

By  Trevor Kapp and Aidan Gardiner | December 8, 2015 8:55am 

 Bricks spilled onto 63rd Street Monday night, officials said.
Bricks spilled onto 63rd Street Monday night, officials said.
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DNAinfo/Trevor Kapp

UPPER EAST SIDE — A wall of bricks tumbled off the front of a building on the Upper East Side and crashed onto East 63rd Street, leaving part of First Avenue closed Tuesday, officials said.

The avenue was temporarily shut down to traffic from East 59th Street to East 64th Street.

The bricks were still strewn across the roadway after falling from the face of 340 E. 64th St., just off First Avenue, about 10:40 p.m., officials said.

"It's the layer above the roofline that came off," FDNY Deputy Chief John McLaughlin said. "Most of it landed on setbacks, but quite a good amount of debris ended up in the street at this intersection."

Miraculously, no one was injured, fire officials said.

Witnesses said they heard a thunderous crash.

"I just got into my car and heard screaming from the street," said Rachel Surizon, who lives in the building. "It was a very big noise. The first minute, I thought maybe it was a bomb. I saw some stone falling."

McLaughlin said First Avenue would likely be shut down for at least a day.

"The big issue is not so much what needs to be fixed, it's how to get up there to fix it," he said. "So we're talking about 24 to 48 hours probably before we get a good assessment of what's happening."

The Department of Buildings was dispatching staff to investigate, according to its website.

The building has eight open DOB violations, mostly for elevator issues, according to the agency's website.

McLaughlin said the damage could've been far worse had the incident happened earlier in the day.

"I would say that's the one thing the worked for us," he said. "But even at that hour, it's New York City. You generally have pedestrian traffic, so it is remarkable."