Demolition begins on collapsed building in the Bronx

Around 4 p.m. Thursday, residents who lived on the south side of the apartment building in 1915 Billingsley Terrace in the Bronx, were allowed to come back in and retrieve some of their belongings. 

This collapse has wrecked the plans of dozens of families who won’t have a home until this building can be deemed safe. 

The exposed bedrooms and all the little things that make up people’s lives inside came crashing down on Thursday, as Department of Buildings crews began to demolish the collapsed corner of the seven-story apartment building in the Morris Heights section. 

The demolition is expected to take several days. 

"You know we had complained a lot. We had called the super, if you can call him a super, for all the problems that my apartment had. And he said yeah, tomorrow, tomorrow, tomorrow. And the day comes, and he don’t fix it. And you see what happened?" Martinez said.

Martinez is one of the many residents who stopped on Thursday to retrieve belongings while they temporarily stay in a hotel provided by the Red Cross.

"I just want my kids' clothes," Martinez said. 

There’s hope she’ll get to move back into her first floor apartment. The department of building says it’s working as fast as possible to safely move residents back in.

"They should tear that building down because you can’t revamp old material," said Raymond Wilks, a Bronx resident. 

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As Diana’s neighbors watched the demolition, they remained doubtful and distrustful of the structure left standing. 

"That had 120 violations, so that makes a difference," Wilkes added.

The nearly century-old complex has racked up dozens in which tenants reported hearing cracks and feeling the structure was unstable. 

But the DOB says its engineers found most of the building to be sound. Once the demolition is done, the owners have to ensure the building is safe, bring it up to code and seal off the damaged corner.

And only after passing inspection, will the 100-plus tenants come back. It’s a timetable that most likely will not be completed in time for the Holidays.

"It’s a lot of money for you to go to an apartment and then, out of nowhere," Martinez said.