Saturday, February 21, 2015

Bristol inspector: Pine Street building does not need to be razed

Posted: Friday, February 6, 2015
A nearly 100-year-old Bristol row home where a wall partially collapsed Monday will not need to be demolished.

A safety inspection report found that the end unit in the 800 block of Pine Street is structurally sound and the damaged wall can be repaired, borough Inspector John Miller said Friday. Repair work is expected to begin next week, Miller said.
The work will involve bracing the building in its current state, removing the damaged portion of the wall, and repairing and replacing it with a new wall, Miller said.
Once the work is completed and inspected, the property owner should be allowed to return to the home, Miller said. The homeowner’s insurance company will pay for the work, he added.
A portion of Pine and Spring streets near where the collapse happened will remain blocked to vehicle and pedestrian traffic until the wall is braced, Miller said.
Authorities are continuing their investigation into what caused the wall collapse and do not have an answer yet, Miller added. The newspaper was not immediately successful in reaching the property owner, William Brown.
The borough condemned the circa-1917 end unit last year after concerns arose about a possible structural problem with the wall that collapsed, Miller said. No one was allowed to live in the home until the owner submitted a structural engineering report, which didn’t happen, Miller added.
The problem — an outside wall that appeared to be bowing — didn’t require immediate attention when the condemnation order was made, Miller said. Borough inspectors checked the condition of the home on a weekly basis and no significant change was noted until Jan. 30.
The bend in the wall was significantly more pronounced than it was on the previous check so, as a precaution, a portion of Pine Street near the wall was barricaded and a safety inspection was 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 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.

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