Apartment Torn Down After Partial Collapse

Apartment building on Putnam Street to be demolished Friday morning.

By George Colli
|  Friday, May 24, 2013  |  Updated 9:31 AM EDT
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Six Hartford families have been evacuated from a Putnum Street home because of an exterior wall crumbling.

George Colli, Thomas Kienzler, and Jonathan Wardle

Six Hartford families have been evacuated from a Putnum Street home because of an exterior wall crumbling.

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Six families were forced to evacuate their 116-year-old apartment building after a wall at 26-28 Putnam Street in Hartford began to bulge on Thursday.

By Friday morning, the building had partially collapsed and demolition crews began taking the building down this morning.

City building officials said they blocked off the road and vacated structures on both sides of the building.

"And there's also a two-family building to the back of the building that got vacated as well. Once the building is on the ground, we'll allow them to reoccupy the buildings," Mike Fuschi, a Hartford building official, said.

"We have been informed that an imminent building collapse will occur at 26-28 Putnam Street," Maribel La Luz, spokesperson for Hartford Mayor Pedro Segarra, said in a statement Thursday.

Many of the families lost just about everything they own.

"We only had 15 minutes to evacuate," resident Alex Rodriguez said.

With the multi-family apartment building in danger of collapsing, many residents had to wonder what they could carry out.

"Clothes, that's it. Nothing else but clothes," Rodriguez said.

Janice Com stock lived on the second floor, just above the crumbling brick wall on the side of building.

She said a building inspector knocked on her door and told her to evacuate immediately, but she takes comfort knowing that her cats were taken to an area shelter.

"I just hung around here in hopes I can get my medication and some clothing," she said.

All she had left is what she can push down the street.

A city building official said it's taken years for the brick wall to protrude and grow eight inches and they need to act fast.

"If that bulge actually ruptures, it's going to take out the whole side of the building, so the imminent threat is there," he said.

The owner of the building has arranged another place for the residents to move into.

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