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North End building evacuated because of structural concerns

The building is located at 454-464 Hanover St. in the North End.Jim Davis /Globe Staff/Globe Staff

An engineer Thursday was working to determine whether it would be possible to stabilize a North End building the city had ordered evacuated because of safety concerns, according to Boston’s Department of Inspectional Services.

The building was evacuated Wednesday after an engineer reported it had “potential for a catastrophic failure,” citing “the deteriorated condition of steel beams,” according to documents provided by Inspectional Services.

The five-story building, at 454-464 Hanover St., contains 24 condo units as well as first-floor storefronts, said Buddy Christopher, commissioner of Inspectional Services.

He ordered the evacuation after an inspector notified him that portions of the building’s facade and steel beams were in “poor condition,” according to a copy of the inspector’s report.


“The seriousness of it was enough for me to vacate the building because the structural engineer could no longer certify the structure of the building,” Christopher said.

The Fire Department affixed red X signs to warn firefighters not to enter the building.Jim Davis/Globe staff/Globe Staff

Christopher said he declared it “unoccupiable by humans until this assessment is completed.”

He said it was too early to say when the building might be safe for occupancy.

An engineer became concerned about the building after its condo association began assessing its condition in preparation for renovations, Christopher said. Limited demolition exposed “more concerning” issues, he said.

Though Boston has many old buildings, it is rare to find one with structural issues so dangerous they require evacuation, he said.

“We hold property owners responsible for the maintenance of their building,” he said, adding that owners should have the condition of their properties evaluated at least once a year and address structural issues immediately.

Jeremy C. Fox can be reached at jeremy.fox@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @jeremycfox.