Part of an old brick building collapsed on top of its scaffolding and a bus Tuesday morning, injuring 18 and turning a Harlem corner into a scene of chaos.
The building, at West 125th Street and Frederick Douglass Boulevard, fell onto a Bx15 bus at 9:26 a.m.
The articulated bus was headed westbound on 125th Street when rubble flew through the windows of the second car, according to news reports. Although 11 people were transported to local hospitals, the injuries were all minor, FDNY spokesman Jim Long said. Nobody was reported missing.
The New York City Department of Buildings is expected to issue violations against both Disano Demolition, the construction company, and the building owner today.
The building filed the permit for demolition in April and began installing scaffolding and a sidewalk shed in June.
A complaint lodged against the site on Sept. 7 claimed that bricks from the ongoing demolition were falling onto the sidewalk. But when the site was inspected, there was no violation warranted, according to the complaint filed with the DOB.
The building, which was built around 1900, was once home to the offices for a photo development lab, a drycleaner, and a manufacturing company but has been vacant since 2005, according to DOB records.
It was part of the Brownfield Cleanup Program, an environmental initiative by the state to redevelop and reuse contaminated properties, according to the Remedial Action Work Plan filed last month. Suspect fuel oils were present underground in the northern and southern portions of the site.
A four-story, 20,000-square foot commercial building is scheduled to be developed there.
The buildings immediately neighboring the site partially collapsed after the first building went down. On Tuesday afternoon, a large Bobcat cleared away bricks and 125th Street was barricaded off.
As the city cleaned up the debris, onlookers were shaken.
Sheila Dzagali, a student at the Harlem Renaissance High School, said. “It’s incredible. What if other buildings could collapse?”
“You never know when you walk out of your house if you’re going to make it back,” Denise Beckham, who lives in Harlem, said. A regular on the Bx15, she added, “Thank God I wasn’t on that bus.”
Casey Tolan contributed reporting.