NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Some residents are waiting to hear when they’ll be allowed to return home after they were forced out of their apartments Thursday night on the Upper East Side.

A large crack on the building wall at 300 East 96th Street stretches from the second floor to the roof. Residents say it’s been there for months.

The FDNY said the owners were working on the problem Thursday, but a tenant still called 911.

“We looked at it you could see out to the street,” tenant Lara Wilson said. “So it was pretty bad.”

Resident Michelle Mullins flew back to the city to find out she’s not being allowed into her home.

“I mean you can’t believe something like this would happen in New York. But things happen,” Mullins said.

The city’s Office of Emergency Management said the building is not in danger of collapse, but it’s still unsafe to be inside, WCBS 880’s Mike Smeltz reported.

As CBS2’s Dick Brennan reported, residents were allowed back inside to collect some of their stuff, but they have no clue when they’ll be allowed back in.

“It’s frustrating, gotta look at the bright side, the building is still up, I can get my stuff. I’m not sure when I can come back to get the rest of my belongings,” Dennis said.

Friday was a day to ‘grab what you can.’

“Everyone’s safe, that’s most important. This just ins’t the time of year you want to be doing this,” he said.

Residents had a few minutes to collect what they could in various bags and then head to a new place to call home.

“I had only 10 minutes, that’s it,” one woman said.

She found it hard to take.

“It’s basically all in here, I don’t want to talk,” she said before she started crying.

The American Red Cross is offering shelter to the 30 people who live there, although many are going to their families.

Work to shore up the crack will begin next week. The Department of Buildings has ordered that a sidewalk shed by installed while efforts are made to shore up the building.

Fire officials said tenants would not be allowed back inside for at least 24 hours, possibly longer. Some residents, depending on the proximity to the crack, won’t be able to return for a couple of weeks.


In the mean time residents are trying to stay optimistic.

“You make do with what you have as long as we’re safe,” Dennis said.

The landlord referred CBS2 to a communications firm, which has not responded to a request for comment.


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