DUNKIRK, N.Y. (WIVB) — First responders in Dunkirk rushed to the scene of a building collapse just after 12 p.m. on Wednesday.
Officials confirmed part of the historic Coburn Block building tumbled down, scattering bricks and debris into the street. The building, which spans most of the block, is comprised of storage, apartments and storefronts.
Witnesses say first responders were on scene of the crash nearly immediately. Fire, Police and EMS responded to the scene. Fire officials say they searched the rubble and evacuated apartments nearby before cordoning off the area and calling to ensure gas and electric are turned off.
Roughly 30 residents have been displaced from their homes at least temporarily as the situation unfolds in Dunkirk. Red Cross volunteers responded to the scene to aid those displaced residents.
Emily Higgins, a Fredonia State senior, said she witnessed the collapse and became frightened at the noise and uncertainty that followed.
“We were right next door and then we heard a big crash, that sounded like an explosion, but we weren’t sure,” Higgins said. “Brown smoke just filled the area.”
Higgins said events that transpired just a day ago on Fredonia State’s campus only increased her cause for concern. Although officials at Fredonia state have yet to release additional details, for roughly an hour, they advised students to avoid Dods Hall before giving students the all clear.
“We got nervous because yesterday on campus we had a bomb threat, so I just didn’t know,” she said.
Higgins said she and her friend didn’t observe any injured people, and they left soon after first responders cordoned off the scene.
Police and Fire continue to investigate the collapse. See video and photos below, or click here if on the News 4 App.