A vacant three-story building collapse prompts an investigation by Baltimore fire officials. The building in the 1300 block of West Baltimore Street plummeted to the ground around 10:30 p.m. Monday. The cause of the incident is unclear and no injuries were reported, officials said.
According to state property records, Mipaz 500 LLC is the owner of the property, which was condemned in April 2016.
After surveying the damage, some said they were not in the least surprised by the collapse.
The city is dealing with approximately 40,000 vacant homes that are becoming more unsafe and dangerous as each day passes.
In 2016, a building collapsed in the 900 block of North Payson Street, landing on top of a vehicle that was occupied by a Thomas Lemmon who died from his injuries. This incident prompted the city to address the ongoing problem and over 300 buildings were torn down in the same year. In the spring of the same year, another four houses collapsed in less than a week due to strong winds.
The housing department partnered with Johns Hopkins to establish which properties were at the highest risk of collapse. It is estimated that nearly 16,000 of the properties are abandoned. The city has experienced a significant population loss since the 1950s, at which time the city had around 1 million residents. Today, the city’s population is roughly 615,000.
Over the past few years, the city spent an estimated $10 million annually to tear down run-down structures. Inspectors are deployed twice a month to inspect the abandoned properties to determine which are at the highest risk of collapse. The inspectors look for severe stress cracks, missing roofs and bulging walls.
It is estimated to cost around $14,000 to tear down a standard two-story structure and $20,000 for three-story structures. The housing department has $9.7 million budgeted for stabilization, demolition, relocation and acquisition this year.
Since April 2016, Baltimore has spent over $8.9 million for the emergency demolition of 341 structures. There are currently over 1,700 nonemergency properties amid the demolition process.