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Partial building collapse in Hartford forces evacuations from homes and businesses 

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HARTFORD - Park Street remains closed after a vacant five-story building partially collapsed Thursday around 12:30 p.m.

It caused quite the scare to neighboring homes and businesses where everyone had to be evacuated.

"My son actually heard a big boom!" said Crystal McLean of Hartford.

McLean lived in the building right next to the building that collapsed and she said her first reaction was to leave immediately.

"I said get my kids and get out of here, that’s what I said, get my kids and get off this place," added McLean.

Deputy Chief James York said it was around 12:30 when the third and fourth floors collapsed onto the second floor and that is when the nearby businesses and residents were told to leave.

"The building’s been in a state of deterioration, it’s been open to the elements. We’ve had the rain for the last couple of the last week really. There’s evidence of deteriorated brick and mortar," said York.

He also believed the constant rain was the last straw for the old building that was poorly maintained to begin with. While crews have not been able to search inside for safety reasons, they did say water was leaking through the roof.

One of the businesses affected is the popular Bean Pot Restaurant and its owner said he will have to figure out what to do since he is not allowed back in.

"By 12:30 today, I wasn’t in the restaurant when my employee heard a big sound, what happened? The police department, the fire department went inside the restaurant and they told them they have to move away," said Vincente Casanova, owner of Bean Pot Restaurant.

That is why members with the Spanish-American Merchants Association were also on scene to work with business owners in accommodating their needs.

"Try to see and talk to them to see how we can help them out to continue their businesses and anything else they might need - maybe some of them might try to relocate the business, something like that," said Rosa Jacinto, Spanish-American Merchants Association.

Fire officials established what's called a "collapse zone" since the area is deemed as an eminent state of collapse.

Sky61 was on scene to capture an up-close look at the damage from above. Firefighters were working with FOX61 to go through the drone footage to assess the collapse.

Officials added the building has been vacant for four years and they are expecting to demolish it.

There were no changes to the building as of Thursday evening and Park Street remains closed.

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