BOSTON (CBS) – The future of a Chinatown building evacuated Wednesday over structural concerns remains unclear.

Up to 40 people were displaced and have not yet been allowed back in. Many of the residents do not speak English and are upset and confused about what happened.

Firefighters initially were called to the building  on Harrison Avenue Wednesday evening for an alarm, but upon arrival discovered two main central columns missing inside the building.

WBZ-TV’s Sera Congi reports.

“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.”

Keeley said the top three floors of the old building are apartments with very tight living conditions. He estimated that there are 33 units on the top floors, housing 35 to 40 people. The floors also have common kitchens and bathrooms.

Fire officials said the building’s owner must have engineers inspect the structural integrity and fire protection system
before anyone can move back in.

Comments (2)
  1. Susan says:

    Hello – Border Patrol!!!! Are all of these non-English speaking people legally here? More than likely like this was a boarding house for underground Asian restaurant laborers.

    1. Gilbert Ho says:

      I checked they were all legal and some of them were US citizens. carrying Official US issued passport, and they vote.

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