Demolition Begins Today After Roof Caves in on Hartford Building

The roof of a vacant building on Park Street in Hartford caved in Thursday afternoon, partially collapsing the building, and 64 residents of nearby properties have been displaced.

Crews responded to 769-777 Park St. around 12:32 p.m. after a neighbor who heard the collapse walked up to the nearby Engine Company 8 and reported it, according to Hartford Deputy Fire Chief James York.

Crews who arrived at the scene found that the third and fourth floors had collapsed and York said the city’s license and inspection division thinks the building is in “imminent state of collapse.”

The building is almost 100 years old, according to city records. Officials said the city deemed it unsafe to live in after a fire in 2014, but it was not deemed structurally compromised.

Fire officials said that there was a fire in the building seven years ago and it hasn't been maintained.

Red tape now marks the collapse zone, which consists of buildings to the rear, right, the left and the front. The demolition company will be taking down two buildings. Hartford officials said the demolition will begin this afternoon and the city will pay for it out of the emergency demolition fund and bill the property owner.

Park Street will remain closed between Babcock and Putnam streets at least through the weekend.

After the building is demolished, the property will be fenced and the city will have an environmental assessment done, city officials.

Residents of around 22 apartments in seven buildings within the collapse zone were evacuated Thursday and are being housed temporarily at a hotel in the area.

“We hope residents will be able to return to their homes on Monday, but that timeline will depend on the progress of the demolition. I want to thank the residents in the area for their patience and understanding. Our priority is keeping people safe while we take this building down,” Hartford mayor Luke Bronin said in a statement.

“It was the police with the fire department telling me I’ve got five minutes to move and that’s what I did, and now we don’t know where we are going to stay,” Elizabeth Rodriguez said.

The residents will not be able to return home for a few more days.

York said the fire department is working with the building owner and the special services division to help relocate them. Fire officials said a total of 64 people have been displaced.

Angelys Bonilla wasn't displaced by the collapse, but she lives nearby and was shaken by the news.

”I have three pets. I have my nephews come over constantly, so it worries me. I can tell you I really won’t sleep tonight," she said.

There were no reports of injuries.

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