As reported in The Record, yesterday workers were trying to remove a section of the façade of a five-story factory on Blaine Street and caused the collapse of a column of bricks. Luckily the street was already closed due to road construction and no one was on the sidewalk when the column collapsed. The factory owner didn’t have permits for the work and will be fined by the city.
Passaic Fire Chief Patrick Trentacost said, “There were no injuries, but it tied up a lot of emergency equipment. And it happened because of a lapse in judgment.” Five homes were briefly evacuated on Blaine Street immediately after the accident. The sidewalk has been cordoned off and is expected to remain closed.
The factory’s structural engineer advised that there was no danger of further collapse. John Miskovksy the city’s construction official was waiting for the city engineers report to determine what summonses to issue the factory owner.
The workers attached a cable to a pickup truck to tug at the brick on the Blaine Street side of the factory. Instead of safely removing the bricks one at a time, they caused an entire column on one corner of the building to collapse. Bricks went flying and some even landed across the street on sidewalks in front of homes.
Trentacost said, “It was fortunate that no one was hurt. If a brick hit you on top of the head after falling five stories, it would probably kill you.” The building, often referred to as the Manhattan Rubber building spans Blaine and Willett streets and was built in 1934. Manhattan Rubber company is no longer in business, but the building has numerous small industrial tenants.
George Szakacs, who runs Global Wire & Cable, one of the primary tenants is the building’s owner. Szakacs was not reached for comment Thursday evening.
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