NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Building inspectors are trying to determine if a Chelsea building is safe for dozens of residents to return after being forced out of their homes when parts of the facade started to collapse Tuesday night.

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.

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

“There was a partial collapse of the side wall of the building, the bearing wall,” said Battalion Chief Tom McCarthy. “We had some concerns and we got Buildings Department down here to look at it.”

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One of the residents forced to evacuate, Eva Laboz, said she spotted trouble days ago.

“I see the walls cracked a couple of days ago and they put yellow tape over it, but I didn’t know it was going to be that serious,” she said.

Buildings Department records show the facade was inspected in February and declared safe.

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