Richard Nunez was awoken in his Brooklyn home by a bang on Wednesday morning. Though such noises weren’t uncommon with construction in the lot next door, this one was different.
Nunez ran downstairs to check on his neighbors and was shocked to find the source of the noise: a boom delivery truck had fallen, hitting the side of the building on its way down.
“I saw the hole and I went back upstairs and told all my kids, ‘We have to get out of this building. We can’t be in here,’” Nunez said.
According to the Department of Buildings, a knuckle boom truck at the construction site, located at 850 Fifth Avenue, tipped over onto its side while it was unloading a trailer of building materials. The boom struck a neighboring building at 467 36th Street and the tractor of the delivery truck, the DOB said. The DOB is still investigating why the truck fell over.
Fire Chief James Brennan said there were nine people inside at the time of the incident, but no one was injured.
Brennan said tenants of the damaged building are displaced until a DOB emergency response team can investigate its structural integrity. He said he doesn’t believe that the building will collapse, but said the team will determine that and whether tenants can reinhabit the building.
“There is a concern because that is a bearing wall on that side and it did take out the corner in between where the beams are supported,” Brennan said.
Brennan said the DOB Office of Emergency Management reached out to the Red Cross to find help for any tenants who may need it.
The mixed-use building that was struck has a church on the ground floor with apartments above it. Construction was being done on a nearby school building.
Naomi Figueroa, who lives in one of the apartments and is a pastor at the downstairs Acts Christian Church, said the impact felt like an earthquake. The first thing she heard was her daughter Isabel screaming.
“I was in shock and all I was thinking about was my children,” Figueroa said. “‘Are they safe? Is everyone safe?’”
The boom was not fully extended, Brennan said. In different circumstances, he said, the incident could have been much worse.
“In Manhattan, you see things like this where it demolishes the entire building,” Brennan said.
Brennan said the DOB Cranes & Derricks Unit is assessing how to remove the boom from the street and re-upright it.
Nunez said while he waits to hear about the building, he’s thankful that no one was hurt.
“We just thank God,” Nunez said. “There’s nothing else we can do.”