A New York City Transit bus crashed into a townhouse on Bedford Avenue in Prospect Lefferts Gardens on Monday, injuring more than a dozen people, according to Fire Department officials.
Department reps say their units responded at 1:55 pm to a report of a bus crashing into a house on the corner of Lincoln Road.
Multiple passengers of the southbound B49 bus were loaded onto an FDNY bus to be inspected for injuries, according to the department. At least 16 people were being treated for non-life-threatening injuries as of 4 pm, with 13 people hospitalized.
Despite what looks like heavy damage, a spokesperson for the FDNY said he didn’t suspect the home would need to be torn down.
“As you pull that bus away, some things may fall but the overall structure looks sound,” said Jim Long.
George Cantos, whose car was also hit by the bus, said he saw the bus try and switch lanes at Bedford and Lincoln because there was a flatbed truck blocking the intersection, but it lost control and hit the truck, and then the building, pinning Cantos’ car against a tree.
“He just lost control,” Cantos told reporters at the scene.
Cantos’ partner Darius Jones, 33, who works with him at a window and door installation company, jumped into action, helping to open the back door of the bus and free the passengers trapped inside.
Jones said he saw smoke and heard people screaming inside the bus, and worked quickly, putting the skills of his trade to work prying open the door.
Elena, a resident of the Lincoln Road townhouse that was hit by the bus, said she heard screams and then a loud “crunch”and a slow rumbling before running to the window of her top-floor apartment and discovering the chaotic scene below. While Elena, who did not give reporters her last name, said she would probably have to find a new place to live, she’s grateful it wasn’t worse.
“I’m really grateful to be alive,” she said. “No one got hurt, it’s just inconvenience and money.”
Department of Buildings inspectors determined that the building was no longer safe for occupation and issued an order to vacate for all residents, providing them with emergency housing while their investigation continues.
One neighbor said she spoke to the driver of the bus immediately after the crash.
Andrea Clarke, 60, who lives across Lincoln Road and noted that the same building had been hit by a car 20 years earlier, said the driver seemed “dazed” and had a cut on his hand, and that he told her his foot got stuck in between the accelerator and the brake.
“It’s mind-blowing,” Clarke said. “It’s a miracle no one was hurt.”