Bronx Collapse Renews Questions About Safety of Aging Housing Stock

Around 3 p.m. on Monday, Maria Vargas was in her daughter’s room on the third floor of their Bronx apartment building when cracks shot across the walls.

One wall was split down the middle. Ms. Vargas, 55, whose husband is the building’s superintendent, joined a mob racing for the exit. Then the entire corner of the building crashed down, sending jolts through the neighborhood and spilling the innards of several homes.

“I thought to myself,” Ms. Vargas said, “‘Oh my God, I’m going to die.’”

“I haven’t slept,” she added. “Every time I close my eyes, all I see is the crumbling room.”

No one was killed or severely injured in the partial collapse of the 46-unit building in Morris Heights. A day later, officials offered few clues or conclusions, saying that the incident was under investigation.

The collapse shed a brighter light on the limited oversight of aging infrastructure, especially after the fatal collapse of a Manhattan parking garage in the spring and the disaster at a condo building in Florida in 2021.

Before the Bronx collapse, residents had complained of numerous problems, including issues with the facade that had not yet been fixed, city building records showed.

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