Fieldston Lodge still awaiting repairs after collapse


Several weeks ago, on May 28, a section of the upper exterior of the Fieldstone Lodge Care Center, a residential facility for the elderly, collapsed onto the scaffolding surrounding the building and street below. Witnesses from a nearby apartment building described a scene of falling bricks and shattered glass.

No one was injured.

Although the scene looks about as it did when the collapse happened, and the main entrance to the building is still unfit for pedestrian traffic — visitors are diverted to the back entrance — it appeared work on the site had commenced June 18.

According to Jason Carmal, an independent contractor on the site, the upper part of building has been slowly deteriorating for years and the 4.8-magnitude earthquake recorded in Jersey City on April 5 had finally weakened it to a point of instability.

Carmal said the collapse has provided an opportunity to “jumpstart a larger upgrade” of the building’s exterior, which will unfold over the course of the next few months. Even so, Carmal said, the building is “100 percent safe, 100 percent occupied” and his number-one priority is “the safety and security of the residents.”

A representative from Queens-based Access Scaffolding said the care center’s exterior has since been stabilized, and the fractured windowpanes are not affecting any patient rooms, adding the rooms beyond are “mostly staff rooms and storage areas.”

The lack of any visible evidence of repair work since the collapse fueled concerns from neighboring residents about the building’s ongoing safety and potential for further deterioration. One neighbor, who did not wish to be named for fear of reprisal, said they were still avoiding walking too close to the perimeter of the building for fear of falling bricks.

The nearby bus stop, previously located beneath the section where the bricks fell, has been temporarily shifted across the street.

Fieldston Lodge Care Center officials did not respond to multiple requests for comment at press time.

Alaska St. Clair

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