Vacant home collapses; 'It looked like a bomb went off'


A crashing noise pierced the air early Sunday morning as a home in the 700 block of Neversink Alley in Reading crumbled. Officials said it had been vacant for years.

"The wind blowing, raining, and all of a sudden it just collapsed real loud. 'Boom,'" said Curtis Ellison, who lives in the neighborhood. "It looked like a bomb went off."

All that remains now is rubble, filled with shingles, TVs, couches and graffiti-plastered walls.

"It was a total pancake collapse of the building," said Chief William Stoudt, Reading Fire Department.

Officials said the rain and wind may have contributed to the collapse Sunday morning. The building took down a power line when it fell. A neighboring home also suffered minor damage. The family that lived there has been evacuated.

"There's some minor structural evaluation that's got to be done before they're allowed back in," Stoudt explained.

Officials said this was one of a few rundown homes on the block. They added that at least two others are slated for demolition, but they aren't sure when those will be demolished.

"There's a lot of properties in town that need maintenance," Ellison said.

"It's just crazy. The houses over here are just really bad in general. I'm not surprised," said Veronica Valentine, who lives in the neighborhood with her 3-year-old son.

Valentine added that, especially with a young child, she worries about the condition of these homes in her neighborhood.

"The houses are really bad out here. They just need a lot of work," Valentine said.

Curtis Ellison agreed that the main priority is keeping this community safe.

"I'm just glad nobody got hurt," Ellison said.

Officials did put up a fence to block off the area and they plan on cleaning up all the debris as soon as possible.