NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – A vacant building in Bay Ridge partially collapsed early Monday morning, forcing the evacuation of two adjacent buildings.
The two-story structure at 552 Ovington Avenue came down around 3:10 a.m., 1010 WINS’ Glenn Schuck reported.
“I thought I heard thunder, but it wasn’t thunder, something was like falling,” one neighbor said. “A fireman said, ‘You have to get out, we’re going to evacuate the building.’”
No injuries were reported.
About 15 people from neighboring homes were evacuated.
1010 WINS’ Glenn Schuck reports
Neighbors said the home had been vacant and neglected for years.
“It looks terrible,” neighbor Gloria Mullaney said. “It’s ruined the whole neighborhood. Every critter in the world has lived in this house, we’ve had it vandalized, there’s children going in the back jumping fences, smoking, doing drugs in the back.”
The fire department had been called to the building about six weeks and it was deemed hazardous when the roof caved in, sending a cloud of asbestos-filled smoke into the air, officials said.
“If it was taken care of we wouldn’t be here now,” one woman said.
“I don’t know what they were waiting for, it was a hazard,” one man said.
The owner of the building, Mousa Khalil, admits he has left the structure dilapidated and vacant for years, blaming it on failed deals and money problems.
“Last four years it was all financial problems,” Khalil said.
Khalil owns three buildings on the block and several more throughout Brooklyn. Most of the locations have active violations and numerous complaints.
“I get some complaints, all the time I take care of the complaints,” Khalil said. “Do everything they want.”
Khalil said he will take care of the collapsed building as well as another home in the coming months.
He did not express and immediate plans to visit the building on Monday, CBS 2′s Amy Dardashtian reported.
The Department of Buildings has not returned calls for comment.