New York, NY Condemned Building Collapse, Sep 1905




Nine Injured -- Complaint of Building Bureau Delay -- House Was 125 Years Old.

By the collapse of a three-story brick building, 125 years old, at the northwest corner of Grand and Mott Streets, about 3:30 o'clock yesterday afternoon, two persons were killed and nine more or less seriously injured. The building was the property of the TRUMBULL estate of 192 Bowery.
A young girl met her death on the sidewalk while walking past the house, and an employe died on the ground floor of the premises. The injured were nearly all of a city wrecking crew assigned to destroy the building. The casualty list is:
GLORIOSSA, MARIA, 12 years old, of 160 Mott Street.
FARINE, GIUSEPPE, 40 years old, a dishwasher employed in the restaurant of EUGENE QUATENNIA, on the ground floor.
MAJORI, G. M., a photographer, with offices in the building; contusions about the head.
WALL, PETER, of 1,162 First Avenue, member of the wrecking crew; taken to Gouverneur Hospital with a fractured skull; recovery doubtful.
BURNS, EDWARD, of 1,123 First Avenue; lacerated face.
TROY, ROBERT, 2,156 Third Avenue; lacerations.
DURENTE, EUGENE, 311 Seventh Avenue; leg fractured.
BINCHING, FRANK, 26 Thompson Street; contusions.
QUATTENO, LOUIS; contusions.
LEPRE, GEORGE, fireman; contusions.
SHAY, WILLIAM P., policeman; lacerated hands.
The Bureau of Buildings issued an order condemning the building about 1 o'clock yesterday afternoon. The bureau had been notified that the walls of the house had cracked during the morning and that an accident was imminent. About noon two Inspectors investigated, and it was upon their report that action was taken. The police were notified and the occupants were ordered out of the house. EUGENE QUATENNIA, proprietor of an Italian restaurant on the ground floor, shooed his patrons into the street and closed his place. G. M. MAJORI, a photographer occupying the two upper stories, was preparing to leave when the crash came.
Meanwhile Policemen KINGSTON and LANAHAN of the Mulberry Street Station had been stationed on each side of the house to warn passersby of the danger. About 3:30 o'clock a wrecking crew from the Bureau of Buildings arrived under command of TIMOTHY MAHONEY. They began pulling up the awning poles in front of the house. At the same time a large ladder was thrown against the front of the building. Just as the ladder was placed in position the building collopsed[sic]. Most of the workmen of the wrecking crew were standing near the front wall, and were caught in the flying bricks and mortar. MARIA GLORIOSSA, who was walking past, eluded the vigilance of two policemen and was caught in the wreckage. She was instantly killed. Calls were sent for the reserves, firemen, and ambulances.
Policemen LANAHAN, KINGSTON, THWAITE, and McCABE were the first to arrive. They dragged half a dozen of the injured to the pavement before the ambulances came.
FARINE, the dishwasher, had been repeatedly warned not to enter the house. Just before the collapse he entered the kitchen of the restaurant on the plea that he had left something valuable there. His body was recovered after two hours hard work.
The rescuers were several hours extricating the injured. As the wounded were reached they were distributed between St. Vincent's Gouverneur, New York and Hudson Street Hospitals.
Complaint was made yesterday of the alleged delay of the Buldings Bureau in condemning the building. CHARLES J. VOLPE, son of the lessee of the building, says that early yesterday morning he heard the walls of the house cracking and notified the Bureau. He says a person who said he was the "secretary" of the Bureau, answered his telephone call, and replied that the matter could wait until to-morrow. VOLPE says he insisted upon immediate attention, and that it was only after repeated pleadings that the Bureau was induced to act. ALFONSO SISCA, a newspaper man living in the neighborhood, told a similar story of an attempt to get the Bureau to act quickly.
Building Superintendent HOPPER said last night that his office had been notified early yesterday that the Grand Street building was likely to collapse, and that the Emergency Corps had hurried out to investigate.
"Inspector PATRICK BOWEN," he continued, "happened to be there just at noon, and noticed that the wall was bulging. He notigied Inspector REVELLE, who has charge of that district. REVELLE said that he would attend to the matter at once, and in fact he did arrive there a few minutes later. He and BOWEN went into the building, and after a brief examination sent for the Emergency Corps. The Inspectors called me up on the telephone and after telling me the condition of the building, said that a policeman had taken charge."
"The emergency corps, I am informed, arrived before the collapse occurred. I left my office at 4 o'clock, and heard of it later over the telephone."
THOMAS GORMAN, a foreman, according to Coroner SCHOLER, for a wrecking concern which had been hurriedly summoned to shore up the building after a huge crack had appeared in the Mott Street side, but whom the police have recorded as a foreman in the Building Bureau, was arrested on the Coroner's order. Coroner SCHOLER said last night that he had been informed that workmen under the direction of GORMAN had pulled away an awning in front of the building to make room for timbers needed to shore up the structure, and that this action had contributed to the collapse. Later, according to the Corner, he learned that GORMAN was not at fault, and he was paroled.

The New York Times New York 1905-09-08