Jumat, 01 Juni 2012

Brick façade on 1336 H Street NE collapses; no one injured

Construction halted on 1336 H Street NE today when the building’s brick façade collapsed onto the sidewalk.

No one was hurt in this morning’s collapse, which occurred during an “emergency façade repair,” according to building owner Mark Rengel, who also said the building will mostly likely become a restaurant.

Both Rengel and ANC 6A chair David Holmes said they knew the building could easily collapse, and Holmes said ANC 6A filed a report stating this.

“The façade’s been crumbling for 20 years,” Rengel said. “I had an inclination this was gonna happen … gravity helped us out.

“They did have it caged off and fenced in,” said D.C. Fire Battalion Chief E.R. Mills III.

The bricks from the second floor of the building littered the ground, and a metal garage door was torn from the building. It landed on the scaffolding, knocking out an important metal pin holding it together. Since the scaffolding is two stories tall, it presented the problem of collapsing onto the street into traffic.

The right lane of H St. heading west has been closed for drivers’ safety.

Holmes said the ANC filed a report with DCRA this past September, claiming the building’s façade was on the verge of collapse and presenting a danger to pedestrians and drivers alike on H St. He said the report was not only ignored but insulted, drawing insults such as calling the ANC members “Chicken Little.”

“They were contemptuous of our report,” he said.

DCRA building inspector Delaine Engleberg said it was safe for the construction to resume at noon but suggested an engineer check the back wall of the building. She said the construction team was working on removing the façade anyhow. The only unsolved problem is the scaffolding.

She said only Helder Gil could offer further comment, but he could not be reached by press time.

Washington D.C. real estate development news

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