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Chinatown Building Evacuated Due To Structural Concerns

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Harrison Ave. building evacuated.

Harrison Ave. building evacuated.

WBZ-TV's Jonathan Elias Jonathan Elias
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BOSTON (CBS) – Firefighters responding to an alarm may have found something much more dangerous in Chinatown.

Firefighters discovered two main central columns missing inside a building on Harrison Ave. The residents of the building were not allowed back in.

“We have structural deficiencies on the first and second floor of the building,” says District Fire Chief Dennis Keeley. “A number of columns have been removed so we’ve ordered the owner to hire an engineer to come in and evaluate the structure to see if it’s sound to occupy.”

WBZ-TV’s Jonathan Elias reports

Keeley says the top three floors of the old building are apartments and it is very tight living conditions. He estimates there are 33 units, which house 35 to 40 people. The floors have common kitchens and bathrooms.

An MBTA bus was on scene to keep the displaced residents warm.

“I was surprised the support columns were removed,” says Alex Szato, the building owner.

Szato says he had no idea there were any code violations in the building he bought three years ago. He told WBZ that he gets annual inspections, but did not know when the last one was.

Boston Fire says there is no imminent threat that the building will collapse.

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