Falling bricks injure 4, prompt evacuations in West New York

A partial building collapse has injured several people, one critically, in West New York. (6/17/14)

WEST NEW YORK - A partial building collapse has injured several people, one critically, in West New York.

Officials and witnesses say bricks rained down off of a building along 60th Street at around 5:30 p.m. Tuesday. Four people were hurt, and several buildings were evacuated.

Witnesses say the collapse sounded like an explosion as the bricks dropped onto several people walking on the sidewalk.

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Maria Hernandez was evacuated from her office next door. "The building even shook. It was pretty bad," she says. 

Mayor Felix Roque, who is also a doctor, says he was in his office nearby and seeing patients when he heard a loud noise and rushed out to see what was going on.

"I saw a gentleman lying on the floor full of bricks," he says. "So initially instinct took over. I went and provided first aid and made sure I stabilized his cervical spine, made sure that his airway was clear because he wasn't breathing when I got there."

Fire officials say two buildings were evacuated - the one where the bricks fell and the one next door. A one-block radius was sealed off to traffic to prevent vibrations.

A structural engineer evaluated the buildings. "Right now it's just the parapet that failed," says Deputy Chief Mike Cranwell. "The structural integrity of the rest of the building seems to be OK at this point."

The building and others around it were built in the 1920s.

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