Saturday, February 21, 2015

Bristol condemned home last year where wall collapsed

Posted: Tuesday, February 3, 2015
Bristol officials expect to know later this week if a nearly 100-year-old row home where a partial wall collapse occurred Monday night needs to be demolished.
The borough condemned the circa-1917 end unit in the 800 block of Pine Street last year after the owner expressed concern about a structural problem with the wall that collapsed, borough Inspector John Miller said Tuesday. No one was allowed to live in the home until the owner submitted a structural engineering report, Miller added.
The problem — an outside wall that appeared to be bowing — didn’t require immediate attention or demolition, Miller said. Borough inspectors checked the condition of the home on a weekly basis and no significant change was noted until this week, he added.
When Miller drove by the home Monday he noticed the bow in the wall was significantly more pronounced than it was Friday, which he attributed to recent ice and snow storms. As a precaution, a portion of Pine Street near the wall was barricaded Monday and a safety inspection scheduled for Tuesday, Miller said.
But shortly after 4:30 p.m. Monday, a large section of the second-floor wall collapsed. No injuries were reported but at least five attached homes on Pine Street were evacuated after bricks and other debris landed on a gas meter below the collapsed wall.
The borough’s structural engineer conducted a safety inspection of the property Tuesday morning and officials are awaiting the results before making further decisions about the property, Miller said.
With a danger of further collapse, 200 feet of Pine Street and Spring Street will be closed to pedestrian and vehicle traffic, Miller said. There is no known structural danger with the attached houses, Miller added.
The partial building collapse was the second in Bristol in three months.
A 58-year-old Newtown man was seriously injured in November after an overhanging bay on a historic 19th-century Radcliffe Street building he was renovating collapsed, causing him to plunge two stories to the sidewalk where he was buried under debris.
A borough investigation said the partial collapse was caused by a mistake during removal of the building’s roof rafters.

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