Residents Evacuated After Partial Building Collapse in Boston's South End

Five residents were evacuated from adjacent buildings

NBCUniversal, Inc.

Five people were evacuated from their homes in Boston's South End after a vacant brownstone building partially collapsed Wednesday night.

Hours after the initial collapse, another part of the building appeared to break loose, and city inspectors issued two violations to the building's owners.

Crews responded Wednesday night at 23 Upton Street, a 5-story brick building that was posted as unoccupied due to serious structural deficiencies, according to the fire department.

The rear fire escapes and part of the vacant building have come down, the fire department said.

Parts of the fire escape and debris could be seen hanging in the trees in Public Alley 701.

The five residents who were evacuated live in adjacent buildings, fire officials said.

There are no injuries, according to Fire Chief Neil Mullane.

"We got quite a load of brick that could come down. So we’re not letting anyone back here at all,” Mullane said.

A partial building collapse in Boston's South End forced five nearby residents to evacuate their homes Wednesday night.

In fact, another section of the brownstone collapsed Thursday afternoon, apparently from the fire escape on the top floor. Part of it could be seen swinging in the air a little before 1 p.m.

The Boston Inspectional Services Department issued two violations to the owners Thursday afternoon, calling for protection from debris and water run-off as well as for the fire escape to be tested and certified.

It was not immediately clear when the evacuated residents would be allowed to return home.

Photos obtained by NBC10 Boston show inside the brownstone before the collapse.

These photos obtained from the city of Boston show the building's interior prior to the collapse. The bay window is now gone.

And security cameras from next door showed a cloud of smoke rising after the walls fell.

According to an application for design dated Dec. 13, the six-floor rowhome was built in the mid-1800s and served as a boarding house until the 1990s. It's been abandoned since.

The company that owns the building, Navem Partners, is still working on it, according to employee Gong Lu.

Residents in nearby buildings were displaced following a partial building collapse in the South End.

In November, the building was approved to be renovated into three luxury condos. The zoning application said the building would require "major structural upgrades" and would cost $700,000.

The building has been an eyesore for years, and the previous owner did nothing to fix the problem, said James Alan Fox, vice president of the neighborhood association.

"I often got calls and emails from residents who live on both sides" and were concerned about material falling onto their property, he said.

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