READING, Pa. -

Crews and city officials are working to preserve one of the oldest buildings in Reading after part of it came crumbling down.

A dozen people have been forced out of their homes when the building gave way at South 5th and Cherry Streets.

"It was a crash that happened suddenly and I felt it in my room," said Carmen Rosario, who was evacuated. "It sounded like a big glass crash so I thought it was a car."

The front of the building gave way around 11:30 p.m. Thursday, which left a pile of bricks and debris on the sidewalk.

Rosario and her 10-year-old grandson were forced out of their home into the cold rain Thursday night when part of the historic building gave way.

"I was sleeping and I was hearing a little bit of the rumbles," said David Medina, Rosario's grandson.

The American Red Cross helped 11 people find a temporary place to stay.

The building shifted when crews got on scene, which knocked a pile of rubble to the concrete. Gas, power and water were shut down to avoid a catastrophe.

The building was built in 1764 before the Revolutionary War. It's known as "The Daniel Rose House." Rose was a friend of George Washington and a clockmaker. He lived there in 1774.

"It's a very old, very historic building, very important to the city's heritage and we're taking every measure we can to preserve the building," said Brian Nicarry, a building inspector for the city.

According to city officials, the heavy rain that moved through the region may have caused the partial collapse.

A structural engineer was called in and a contractor was hired by the owners. The mission is to get the building stabilized because with even more rain in the forecast inspectors fear it could collapse at any moment.

"We are worried about that. That's why we're staying here, we're watching the scene and staying very close to it," said Nicarry.

Contractors will start to stabilize the building Saturday morning.