Western Avenue apartment building experiences partial collapse

ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) – Some people weren’t able to sleep at their apartment Wednesday night after part of the building collapsed.

The apartments along Western Avenue in Albany are over 100 years old. Albany Battalion Fire Chief Dave Newton said it wasn’t a surprise part of the roof started coming apart.

Several bricks came apart from the roof and dropped to the ground. Newton said it was good news no one happened to be standing in that spot at the time.

“Another month and all the lawn chairs will be out here; it’s very fortunate,” he said.

In addition to the age of the building, Newton said weather could have played a factor. Water seeping into the masonry can cause bricks to come loose.

“All it takes is gravity, eventually, and it looks like there was a pretty good chunk up there that came down, and once that comes down, it brings some other pieces with it,” Newton explained.

Newton said there’s a capstone on the building that’s close to 300 pounds. With how close the buildings are to power lines, it can be dangerous if more continue to fall.

“There’s probably four courses of bricks there deep at least, and they’re all loose, so it’s a good chunk of masonry that’s going to have to be looked at,” Newton said.

Ryan Wittig lives next to the affected apartment building. The partial collapse has him somewhat nervous with not knowing how stable it is.

“Definitely you want to keep your head on a swivel and make sure you have your eyes out for anything that’s going around,” he said. “I’ve seen air conditioners fall out of the windows at certain points, so you never know what’s going to happen.”

Before crews left, they pushed most of the loose bricks onto the ground. In the meantime, the fire chief said it’s nothing people should be too worried about.

Newton said the building owner is in the process of working with a contractor to make the necessary repairs. Depending on how stable the building is, people should be able to be let back inside on Thursday.

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