Metro

Demolition gone awry damages Lawrence building, forces out tenants

Firefighters used a hose to control dust after a building being demolished collapsed.

John Blanding/Globe staff

Firefighters used a hose to control dust after a building being demolished collapsed.

The demolition team’s plan was for the three-decker to collapse inward, but it instead tipped to the right — into another structure, displacing the residents of six apartments.

It happened at about 11 a.m. Wednesday at at 189 Newbury St. in Lawrence, involving a structure that had been deemed to be “unsafe and structurally unsound.”

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The building had been boarded up for years, Fire Chief Brian Moriarty said. After a full evaluation, the city decided it should be demolished.

One firefighter was on the scene to oversee demoliton, but 20 more rushed in to help when it became clear the project had gone awry.

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The first floor of the neighboring three-story residential building was heavily damaged, Moriarty said — the full extent was still being evaluated Wednesday. Moriarty said the exterior wall and windows were destroyed.

“I was standing inside one of the apartments on the first floor and could see right outside from where the wall used to be,” he said.

No one was on the first floor at the time, though there were residents elsewhere in the building.

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“I was most worried about making sure that everyone was safe,” Moriarty said.

No inuries were reported.

The displaced neighbors had to stay elsewhere Wednesday night, Moriarty said.

An engineer was expected to assess the building Thursday to determine if it’s safe for the residents to return.

Maddie Kilgannon can be reached at maddie.kilgannon@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @MaddieKilgannon.
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