DUNKIRK, N.Y. -- Thirty-six people living in apartments in the Coburn building on Central Avenue in Dunkirk are displaced after a portion of it collapsed Wednesday afternoon.
Dunkirk fire officials said when they arrived, the corner building had collapsed, scattering bricks and debris across the street.
Two workers in the Rural Ministries food bank left right before the upper two stories collapsed. The business owner next door was sitting at his desk when it happened.
"I honestly thought at first it might have been an earthquake... because every now and then we get a tremor around here but no, I mean it was unbelievable when it was happening... just on the other side of the wall from me when I find out," said Robert Valvo, Biker Bob's Motorcycle Services owner.
"As of right now we have the block shut down, utilities off, we're waiting for a structural engineer to come in and evaluate," said Dunkirk Fire Dept. Chief Michael Edwards.
The rest of the residents in the Coburn Block building were evacuated and are being helped by Rural Ministries and the American Red Cross.
Officials are still working to determine a cause and a plan to secure the structure.
Volunteers from just down the road at SUNY Fredonia are working with the American Red Cross after the building collapse. The school is helping to provide emergency housing for 17 residents who are without a place to stay.
Health Services volunteers from the Red Cross are also helping to replace medications people may have lost in the incident.
Local officials are working to create long-term recovery plans for those displaced residents.