Face-off! Residents evacuated from Sackett St building in facade collapse

Face-off! Residents evacuated from Sackett St building in facade collapse
Photo by Michael D. Cassidy

Talk about a face-off.

Fourteen people are homeless after the façade of their Sackett Street building collapsed on Tuesday, hours after Monday night’s torrential rain.

Half of the red stucco front fell off the three-story building at around 3:30 pm.

“The storm knocked off [the wall],” said Tom Hassan, a resident of the building between Court and Clinton streets. “It happened all at once.”

The crack first appeared after the storm and expanded on Tuesday before splitting the facade in half, said Hanna Abuhamdeh, a relative of the building’s landlord who lives at the residence. There were no injuries.

“My sister was home and two children were playing outside,” said Abuhamdeh. “Thank God nobody was hurt.”

Michael Cassidy, who lives a block away, saw the crack on a walk earlier that day.

“Once I saw the fire trucks coming, I knew exactly where they were going,” he said.

Firefighters did respond to the scene, removing the building’s occupants and securing the area as remnants of the façade littered the sidewalk.

The rest of the building is structurally sound, but because the remaining façade is still at risk of falling, the Department of Buildings deemed the residence too dangerous to inhabit, and its tenants have been evacuated. On Tuesday evening, the American Red Cross was helping the building’s 14 residents relocate until the landlord can fix the building and they can return, said Department of Buildings spokeswoman Ryan Fitzgibbon.

Fitzgibbon added that the agency is not sure that the storm was to blame. It’s still being investigated, she said.

The building had no recent complaints. Calls to landlord Mohammed Abuhamdeh were not returned — perhaps because he can’t get back into his home.