Balcony Collapses in Central Havana

The collapse occurred in a building on Calle San Nicolás and San Lázaro. (14ymedio)

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Juan Diego Rodríguez, Havana, 22 June 2021 — The owners of an apartment located in a building on San Nicolás and San Lázaro streets, in Centro Habana, saw the balcony of their home collapse on Tuesday when they were carrying out repair work.

“They tied up the scaffolding on the balcony and a good part of it fell,” a neighbor told 14ymedio while the residents of the building collected the debris that fell on the street without causing material damage or injuring passersby.

The neoclassical building, built in the first half of the 20th century, is in an advanced state of disrepair due to lack of maintenance and erosion caused by saltpeter. To this are added the successive internal transformations, such as horizontal divisions — the building of raised platforms (popularly called ‘barbecues’) within a room — that seek to expand the space.

Centro Habana, without the colonial beauty of Old Havana or the modern buildings of El Vedado, has for decades been a municipality characterized by the high presence of tenements, infrastructure problems, overcrowding and a high population density. The successive programs launched by the Government have not resolved the increasingly frequent collapses.

In recent months, several collapses have been reported in the municipality. One of the most recent occurred in April on the Malecon, when two buildings collapsed and part of a third collapsed, and a man was seriously injured.

The fall of a balcony caused in January 2020 the tragic death of three girls in Old Havana, between Vives and Revillagigedo streets, in the Jesús María neighborhood. The structure, deteriorated by the years and the lack of maintenance, collapsed around four-thirty in the afternoon, when the young girls were on the sidewalk rehearsing for the events to celebrate the birth of José Martí.


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