On April 19, a residential building at 210 Freeman Street in Greenpoint underwent a partial collapse, leaving several residents without access to their homes. The Red Cross, Fire Department, and other emergency management organizations were called to the scene in response to complaints about the building shaking and vibrating. Thankfully, no injuries were reported.
Ten people were evacuated from 210 Freeman Street and neighboring 208 Freeman Street, and at least 15 feet of foundation has been destroyed. According to the FDNY report, the collapse was due to a structural issue in the building, but they have not released the definitive cause of the damage yet. The NYC Department of Buildings has several complaints and violations listed for the buildings, and it seems that illegal construction taking place in the basement at 208 Freeman caused the collapse to occur.
The Department of Buildings report issued on April 20 states that 208 Freeman is under violation for “work without a permit,” and it has been labeled as unstable and as a danger to the public. Improper excavation and unpermitted underpinning operations in the cellar are listed as the cause of foundation walls collapsing in both buildings. The owner has been instructed to arrange immediate shoring at 210 Freeman Street to support the structure and prevent further collapse.
Gas service has been shut off at both locations, and the FDNY has requested a structural stability inspection for the buildings. Unfortunately, residents who were forced to evacuate after the incident have not been able to return to their homes and will not be able to do so for several weeks while investigations are pending.
In light of the increasing construction taking place around Greenpoint, residents are urged to report any suspicious work. Anonymous complaints called into the NYC Department of Buildings will result in an inspection of the building to ensure that the builders are complying with city codes.