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Evacuation Order Remains In Effect For Some At Chelsea Building After Facade Collapse

(credit: CBS 2)

(credit: CBS 2)

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NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) – Part of a landmark Manhattan building remains evacuated two days after pieces of its facade fell off and residents were ordered to leave their homes.

The city Buildings Department said Thursday that one wing of the L-shaped, seven-story building remains under an evacuation order as contractors work to reinforce it. People were allowed back into the other wing Wednesday.

The building was evacuated on Christmas evening after parts of some decorative pillars that stand between the building’s windows at 655 Sixth Avenue crumbled into a 4-to-5-foot-tall pile in the street.

Officials evacuated 49 families as a precaution after they discovered several cracks running up and down the building where the facade fell.

Buildings Department spokeswoman Ryan Fitzgibbon says inspectors later determined that a load-bearing, ground-floor column behind the facade had collapsed.

Fitzgibbon says owner United American Land LLC has been cited with failing to maintain the building. Company principals haven’t immediately returned a call.

The block-long, 1887 building on Sixth Avenue was originally a department store. It was converted into 49 condominiums in recent years.

(TM and Copyright 2012 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2012 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)