An outside wall of a six-story Harlem building peeled away Tuesday, exposing apartments like a doll house and spilling tenants and their belongings onto a pile of rubble. Three people were killed and seven injured.
At least 30 emergency workers and 100 firefighters rushed to the 72-unit apartment house and got down on their hands and knees to lift away bricks and look for victims. Police dogs sniffed through the rubble.
Among the survivors was a 94-year-old woman.
Officials had no explanation for why the wall of the white brick building collapsed.
The 1920s-era building had been cited in recent years for elevator violations, but records showed no complaints about structural damage, city officials said.
The building’s owner, Mount Wilson Reality, temporarily disconnected its phone, according to a recorded message.
The floors of the exposed apartments tilted down 30 degrees, dumping occupants and their belongings into an alley.
The building resembled a ramshackle doll house, with unmade beds, radiators and furniture slanting at precarious angles.
The first body, that of a 47-yearold man, was found within minutes. Hours later, workers using a crane to remove debris came across the body of a woman. A 76-year-old woman who was taken to a hospital died after surgery.
A 45-year-old man was hospitalized in serious condition with broken bones. Six others were treated for injuries.
All the victims apparently lived in the building, police said.