New London — One lane of traffic and a Bank Street building will remain closed until "adequate building repairs" can be made after a piece of masonry fell Friday afternoon from the façade of 153 Bank St.
It was the second time this summer that pieces have fallen off a Bank Street building into a heavily traveled area.
No one was injured when the 30- to 40-pound, 2-foot chunk of cement fell around 4 p.m. from near the top of the three-story building onto the sidewalk below. Fire personnel determined the rest of the masonry trim, which extends across the front of the building, is stable.
The Hollandersky building, as it is known, houses the old Modern Electric business at 153 Bank St., an in-home health care provider called Almost Family at 157 Bank St., and two artists' studios at 159 Bank St. The building will remain vacant, building official Kirk Cripas said, until a structural engineer determines whether it is safe for occupancy.
Fire Battalion Chief Thomas Curcio said pooled water on the flat roof of the building may have caused the damage. The drains, which were clogged, were cleared by firefighters, who accessed the roof with a ladder truck. Curcio said the drains were clogged by dirt and a brick.
The sidewalk and the left lane of Bank Street in the area of the building will be closed until the building is checked out, Cripas said. He asked building owner Robert DeBiasi to try to get a structural engineer to examine the building over the weekend.
Will Golaboski said he was making chili in his second-floor studio when he heard a crash around 4 p.m., but thought nothing of it because of the noises he generally hears downtown.
According to online records, the structure was built in 1927 and is made of brick and masonry.
The problem is similar to one two months ago, when several window panes popped out of the fourth floor of 27 Bank St. and crashed to the sidewalk below, narrowly missing two pedestrians.
A blocked roof drain caused several hundred gallons of water to pool on the flat roof, according to then-Acting Building Official Jamie Salmon. The weight of the water caused the plaster ceiling of the vacant building to cave in and smash the windows.
A procedure similar to the one used with that building will be used for 153 Bank St., Cripas said. If necessary, scaffolding could be brought in to support the building.