April 27, 2007
Ward Bakery’s Rooftop Wall Comes Crashing Down
Parapet Crashes into Cars, Displaces 350 Residents of Homeless Shelter
The Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Sarah Ryley reported on the collapse and the evacuees:
The Ward Bread Bakery complex, built in 1911, is owned by developer Forest City Ratner, and is in the footprint of the 22-acre Atlantic Yards arena and high rise project. The building has been the focus of protests by preservationists who had tried to get it protected by city landmark status, and who disagree with the developer’s plan to replace the block with a large, surface parking lot during the first phase of the project’s construction.
“It took us by surprise, we thought it was a bomb in the building, it shook everything,” said Gloria Diaz, a social worker at the homeless shelter, Pacific Dean Residence. She said she accidentally inhaled dust that came pouring through the basement door when she opened it to see what happened.
Diaz said the shelter wasn’t warned of any potentially dangerous demolition. Hours after the collapse, families were still sitting on the sidewalk, waiting to find out where they would be taken.
But to the families waiting on the sidewalk, with all of their worldly possessions still trapped inside the evacuated shelter, a hot meal and a safe place to sleep were the only things on their minds.
“I’m ready to cry,” said Shirley, who has been living in the shelter with her three kids for nine months. “This is my home right now, and I don’t know where I’m going to go.” Shirley said two of her kids go to school in the area, and she’s concerned they’ll end up someplace dangerous or far away.
Each of the families at the Pacific Dean Residence has their own studio and bathroom, with a door that locks. They could be temporarily transferred to a school, church or hotel reception hall, said Jean Sylla, a Red Cross senior official at the scene.
Sylla said Red Cross officials had briefly spoken to a Forest City Ratner representative, but had no details beyond that about how the developer would assist in relocating families.
Posted by lumi at April 27, 2007 8:11 AM