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Building collapses on pedestrians, bus in Harlem

Cyril Josh Barker | , AmNews Web Manager | , Amity Paye | , Staff Writer | 9/21/2011, 1:40 p.m.
Building collapse raises questions about construction safety uptown

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Building collapse raises questions about construction safety uptown

photo

Building collapse raises questions about construction safety uptown

photo

Building collapse raises questions about construction safety uptown

photo

Building collapse raises questions about construction safety uptown

photo

Building collapse raises questions about construction safety uptown

At 9:26 this morning a demolition project at 125th street and Frederick Douglass Blvd. in Harlem went terribly wrong. A wall of the two-story brick building collapsed onto 125th street, hitting nearby pedestrians and an MTA bus. Ambulances, fire trucks and police were on the scene in minutes, assessing the damage and evacuating the surrounding area because of a suspected gas leak in the collapsed building.

"This is just mayhem," said one onlooker who saw the building fall. "I just walked under that pass. I just missed being hit."

At 10:20 a.m., Senator Bill Perkins said about 33 people were trapped in the bus but that no one was seriously injured. He and Inez Dinkins, who was also on the scene called for an investigation into the collapse. Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer also arrived on the scene at 10:30.

AmNews reporter Josh Barker is on the scene and was informed that a worker was possibly trapped inside the building, but there are no reported fatalities thus far. Barker reported that two police officers and one civilian were injured. According to an online ABC News story, seven people had been reported injured by 11:00 and by 12:25 that number rose to 30 injured, according to police officials on the scene.

In the past few days, people in the blocks surrounding the demolition site, including staff at the Amsterdam News, have complained that their buildings were shaking from the heavy construction going on on the block.