Building collapses during demolition, sending debris into street: "The whole building shook"

MILWAUKEE -- Milwaukee police say debris from a building undergoing demolition fell onto the street when the building collapsed near Kane and Farwell on Milwaukee's lower east side Monday morning, November 21st.

It happened around 10:45 a.m.

The building was in the process of being demolished -- and the collapse sped up the process, and caused some problems.


Some in the area told FOX6 News they were concerned about the building before the collapse. They said a large piece of concrete fell on Thursday, November 17th.

On Monday, after the collapse, police set up a perimeter to keep people away while they cleaned up the street.

Some debris flew so far, it hit the building across the street -- damaging four outside windows and doors.

Those inside that building, the East Side Plaza, said they could see and feel the collapse.

"The whole building shook like it was an earthquake. I thought this building was coming down. There was glass and a brick through the wall. It came right through the window and on the floor and there was glass all over," Dr. Frank Galka said.

All four outdoor windows and doors to the East Side Plaza were shattered.

"Literally it felt like an earthquake. The sound and the movement was very dramatic. We all came and saw cloud of dust here, windows shattered, really an amazing amount of rubble right here," Ann Brummitt said.

The Department of Neighborhood Services issued the following statement:

"The building at 1840 N. Farwell Ave. had the required demolition permit in place at the time of the incident.  DNS staff are on site investigating what happened and it is still under investigation. The first steps will be to secure the structure from any further collapse or risk to the public. They also will be cleaning up any debris. The road is open and traffic on Farwell Ave. is moving.

DNS staff are talking with the owner New Land Enterprises and the contractor Recyclean Inc. on how to proceed next. Part of the insurance and bond requirements for the demolition permit were in place to cover situations like this."

No one was hurt.

The building that collapsed was built in 1961. It was four stories tall, and nearly 13,000 square feet. City records show there were 56 units.

Monitor FOX6 News and for updates on this developing story.