Building collapses in Myrtle Ave. Brooklyn - Update

June 22nd, 2009 - 2:19 am ICT by John Le Fevre  

Four storey apartment collapses in Brooklyn At least three people are reported injured after a New York apartment building in Brooklyn totally collapsed this afternoon.

New York City emergency services declared a major emergency when the building at 493 Myrtle Avenue in the Fort Green section of Brooklyn “totally collapsed” at about 2pm local time.

The building housed the Vesper Bar & Lounge and at least three residential apartments. It is unclear how many people were inside, although the bar was said to be closed at the time.

The Vesper Bar & Lounge is described as a typical neighborhood college joint, with a beer-pong table and weekday two-for-one drink specials.

The New York Post reported the building had a recent history of shaking and Building Department records show that on May 1 there was a report of a crack measuring one to one-and-half inches (2.5 to 3.8 cm) wide running alone the east facade of the building from the first to third floor.

Joe Diaz, a 40-year-old butcher who lives next door to the destroyed building, said, “the building has been shaking like that for past six months. Every few minutes it used to shake.”

Alex Alamonte, 27, manager of the Associated Supermarket across the street from the collapsed building said it began falling apart, for no apparent reason, at about 2 p.m.

“It fully collapsed from one second to another. First a couple bricks fell down and then the whole front fell down. Floor by floor it went down,”

“It’s a pile of rubble except the back left corner… the back wall is still standing,” he said.

Rescue workers said at least 3 people were injured following the collapse but there was no immediate word on casualties, searchers are continuing to cautiously comb their way through the collapsed concrete and bricks.

A spokesman for the New York City Fire Department confirmed a 4-story building had collapsed but did not have additional information as he was still en-route to the scene.

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