New York News

Third floor of house collapses in Queens

Sunday, March 18, 2012
Investigators search for cause of house collapse in the Rockaway section of Queens

Two people are hospitalized after the St. Patrick's party went wrong.

New York City has issued a full vacate order for the house after the third floor collapsed

One person is in serious condition, the other in stable condition.

Just before 11 p.m. the third floor of the house caved down to the second floor. It happened at 451 Beach 72nd street in the Arverne section of the Rockaways.

Eight people had to be removed from the second floor by ladder.

In all 12 people were hurt, 10 others refused medical attention.

The cause of the collapse is still under investigation, but Eyewitness News has learned there were 9 Building Department complaints against this building between 2004 and 2006.

One of the complaints was structural instability throughout the ground floor due to an illegal renovation.

It is not clear if the owner is the same as when those complaints were made, but investigators will continue to review as they search for the cause of the collapse.

According to the people inside at the time, there was a birthday party for a 13-year-old.

They say there were dozens of people dancing on the third floor, perhaps as many as 50. And the floor gave way.

"We were just dancing and it collapsed, that's it," said Shatasha Carter, a neighbor. ""I jumped down from where I was at crawl under and went out the door."

The building itself has been on the radar of city inspectors for some time.

It has amassed $16,000 worth of fines over the years for several violations, ranging from construction without a permit, to illegal additions lacking a proper foundation and structural instability throughout the ground floor due to illegal renovation.

And so the collapse didn't entirely come as a surprise to some neighbors.

"The house wasn't built right in the beginning," said neighbor George O'Leary. "I'm a union carpenter. I seen it going up. You know something's not right, and that's what happens."

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Tags:
new york city, queens, rockaways, collapse, new york news, jeff pegues
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