Carroll Gardens gym building collapses

Carroll Gardens building collapse
Firefighters at the scene of the building collapse at Court and Union streets on July 1.
Photo by Todd Maisel

A Carroll Gardens building housing a gym completely collapsed Wednesday afternoon.

The three-story structure at the corner of Court and Union streets fell in on itself around 4:40 pm, according to a spokeswoman for the Police Department.

One person suffered a minor injury and was being treated on the scene, according to a spokesman for the Fire Department.

A video posted onto the crime-reporting app Citizen shows an ambulance arriving and paramedics standing next to a stretcher, but a police spokeswoman said the building was “believed to be unoccupied at the time.” It was later confirmed that the building was unoccupied due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The gym, called Body Elite Gym, boasts four floors of exercise equipment in the building, according to its website. 

The Fire Department is also investigating the structure of the building next door, a police officer on the scene said.

The building, located at 348 Court St., collapsed on Wednesday afternoon.Photo by Todd Maisel

One employee at the health food store next door said he barely escaped the tumbling structure while he was taking out the garbage.

“I don’t know how I made it,” said the man covered in debris, who gave his name only as Bob. “I was taking out my trash when all of a sudden I see this thing and I run into the middle of the street and I fell in the middle of the street.”

The building before collapse.Google

Dozens of firefighters responded to the scene, and video on the Citizen app shows the streets and cars parked near the building in a coat of dust from the rubble.

“We’re all still in shock,” said Roddy Evens, an employee of Body Elite Gym for 17 years. “I’m doubting that any of our employees have fully processed what happened … We’re just very happy that no one was seriously hurt. The employees that were in there got out safely.”

The city fined the owners, Union and Court Realty Corp., $11,250 in the past two years — twice for failing to maintain the building up to code in December 2019 and March 2020, and once for not safeguarding a construction site on June 10, according to records by the Office of Administrative Trials and Hearings, the agency which determines the fines.

On June 10, the owner received a partial stop work order from the Department of Buildings after construction workers left a masonry brick wall dangerously bulging out into the sidewalk without protection, according to the agency.

In August 2019, DOB inspectors also found structural cracks, a wall and drain pipe bulging out by six inches, and a cornice in disrepair, after someone alerted officials saying the building had “very dangerous conditions,” according to the agency’s records.

DOB engineers and inspectors were on the scene Wednesday evening and the investigation remains ongoing, according to agency spokesman Andrew Rudansky. 

On its Facebook page, the gym — likely in reference to COVID-19 restrictions — recently posted a picture about the muscle palace’s health benefits saying, “Gyms are SAFE!”

Gyms Are SAFE!

Posted by Body Elite Gym on Monday, June 15, 2020

A June 12 Facebook posts shows that the gym was having construction workers do an “exterior makeover” on its Union Street side of the building. 

“Still working and constantly updating. We are getting an exterior makeover. Doing all the things we haven’t had the chance to do and making the most out of our downtime,” the post read.

The gym’s owner could not immediately be reached for comment.

Additional reporting by Todd Maisel