HOLYOKE, MA (WGGB/WSHM) -- For the second time this winter, a collapsing building in Holyoke has caused bricks to topple into the roadway and cause a safety hazard.
Building inspectors are evaluating the damage from Sunday night's collapse on Essex Street.
Essex Street is closed off between Walnut Street and Elm Street.
Building officials said it will stay closed until all of these bricks can be cleaned up. Two nearby vehicles aren't even allowed to be moved.
Even more of a problem are not the bricks down on the ground, but the ones still on the decorative wall up on the roof.
Building officials sid it won't be long before they topple from the antique building too.
"I think these are from that era of time. This one was about 1915," said Holyoke Building Commissioner Damian Cote.
The parapet wall at 145 Essex Street is half on the ground after collapsing Sunday night and though the style is associated with military defense and strength, building inspectors said the other half of this decorative structure is fragile.
"It’s going to collapse at anytime as well," Cote explained.
Cote said the reason why the wall toppled is because of improper maintenance of the bricks.
"The flashing at the top has not been intact, which allows water infiltration, and in the weather like this, where it’s raining and water and then it freezes overnight such that it expands and really tear apart the masonry," Cote said.
Cote said the building was set to be inspected this year. He said in Massachusetts, buildings are inspected every five years at least, if not sooner.
However, because Cote said outside bricks are not necessarily a part of structural integrity, he claims an inspection likely wouldn't have caught this problem.
"It doesn’t really look at the masonry, specifically. There’s a long list of items that we look at, a very exhaustive list, but masonry is really a maintenance issue. It’s like paint on the house. It's really the owner's responsibility," Cote explained.
In the meantime, Cote said more than 15 units have been evacuated. People were allowed back in the building for a short period of time to gather their things, but they won't be able to return until everything is fixed. It's a repair, he said, is dependent on more evaluations and the landlord.
"Getting an engineer involved, they might discover that there’s a lot more work to do than originally anticipated," Cote said.
One woman, who didn't want to show her face on-camera, told Western Mass News that she lives in another Holyoke building owned by the same landlord. She said she wasn't surprised to see the parapet spiral into a safety risk, as she said her building has similar maintenance issues that go unaddressed.
We reached out to the landlord to ask about the brick maintenance issues in the past and about the repair process. We have not heard back.