The Reading Fire Department responded to reports of a building collapse Friday afternoon on the 200 block of Maple Street. Arriving on scene crews discovered the roof of an abandoned building had caved in causing the eastern wall on the third floor to push out towards the street.
Crews used a drone and surveying equipment to monitor the building for additional movement. After assessing the stability of the building, they discovered the it was still moving, slightly.
Fearing further collapse, firefighters evacuated residents along the narrow alley. City officials say residents were provided short term housing overnight Friday into Saturday.
The Empire Group was called in as the contractor tasked with demolition of the building. UGI and Met-Ed spent hours shutting down service to the block before demolition could begin.
“I wish to commend the RFD for its immediate response, its ability to work with multiple entities to prevent further damage on the block, and the Building & Trades Department for assisting with the evacuation and securing the scene” said Reading Mayor Eddie Moran, who was on-scene Friday afternoon.
“Heavy snowfall always contributes to damaging already fragile buildings. We will continue monitoring the situation until remediation is complete.”
Demolition crews worked into the late hours of the night Friday tearing down portions of the building which were unstable.
Residents were allowed back into their homes Saturday and crews are expected to continue the demolition in the coming week.