HILL DISTRICT (KDKA) – The wall of a row house collapsed in Pittsburgh’s Hill District Monday afternoon and forced at least one neighbor out of her home.
Building inspectors returned to the scene Tuesday to look at what’s left of 2348 Bedford Avenue and the adjacent homes. The rear of the home collapsed Monday, taking down part of the house next door.
Linda Massey’s mother has lived in the adjoining house for more than 70 years. She was in the living room when the back of her home was pulled away by the wall collapsing next door.
“Inside the house is just the tip of the iceberg; outside is terrible,” said Massey.
Building inspectors say that the property owner didn’t need a permit because no building was going on – only gutting had taken place. There were no permits on file.
They also said the owner took responsibility for what happened, but that may be little consolation for the woman who finds herself now displaced by what happened.
“She’s 93-years-old, and it’s heartbreaking to know that something like that… because of someone’s negligence. It just doesn’t make sense,” said Kim El, the victim’s granddaughter.
Building Inspection says routine drive-bys of the area would not have indicated there were any problems with the structure because any weakness was limited to the back wall.
A wall that collapsed minutes after a lifelong neighbor had just left the kitchen where her home was hardest hit.
“By the grace of God my mother is still alive,” said El. “She had just finished her dinner, she cooks her dinner early, she had just finished her dinner.”
What happens from here has yet to be determined. A structural engineer will have to determine the condition of the foundation, and then figure out if the two homes can be saved at all.
Then, a determination will be made as to who pays for the repair of both buildings.