Building facade collapses in Allston leaves two injured

Boston Fire Department

Two people were transferred to local hospitals, including one with critical injuries, after the top of the facade of an Allston restaurant collapsed on the sidewalk shortly before 3 p.m. Sunday, according to a spokesman for the Boston Fire Department.

The collapse occurred in the one-story building at 75-85 Harvard Ave., which houses the Common Ground bar and restaurant, and was reported at 2:56 p.m., according to firefighter Marc Sanders, spokesman for the fire department.

The facade collapsed without warning, said Bob O & # 39; Guin, owner of Common Ground., Who worked in his office at the back of the restaurant.

"It was almost like an earthquake," O'Guin said in a brief telephone interview. "It's crazy."

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He said one of the victims was a woman who was hit by falling debris. People from a nearby hairdresser ran out and released her, and the woman was taken in an ambulance, she said.

The teams evacuated 10 to 12 employees and customers through the back of the building, O & # 39; Guin said.

Common Ground has been in the building for about 10 years, he said, and this is the first time something like this has happened there.

Debris covered the sidewalk in front of the building while dozens of lifeguards, including a ladder truck from the fire department, worked on the scene.

A technical rescue team was sent to the scene, and rescuers used a thermal imaging camera to determine that no one was trapped under the rubble, he said.

A square sign on the side of the building fell on the pieces of facade, which had been detached from the roof of the building.

Officials from the city's inspection services were in place on Sunday and were examining the building's structural integrity, Sanders said.

Officials were concerned that a stretch of approximately 30-foot facades that remained in the building could also collapse, he said. The firefighters will remain on site throughout the night as officials design a plan to make sure the building is safe, he said.

The Boston police and EMS were also working on the scene, along with workers from Eversource and National Grid, Sanders said.

In a Twitter post, the fire department asked people to avoid the area.

Globe correspondent Adam Sennott contributed to this report. John Hilliard can be reached in [email protected]

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