Building Partially Collapses, Later Demolished in Maverick Square

Longtime East Boston business owner and civic leader Grace Previte Magoon was sitting in her office in Maverick Square between Eddie C’s Bar and La Sultana Bakery Sunday when she heard an explosion.

Boston Fire Commissioner Joseph Finn and ISD Commissioner William Christopher brief the media.

“It was a big boom,” said Magoon standing in Maverick Square Monday morning looking at her office.

Magoon, longtime owner of MP & Co. Tax and Financial Services, was in her office Sunday getting a jump on preparing tax returns for her clients.

“It is tax season,” she said. “So I was working when I heard that noise.”

Magoon didn’t realize that a portion of the building behind her office located at 4 Winthrop St. had come crumbling down onto her office’s roof–bricks and debris broke through the roof in the back of her building severing a water line.

“I went to see what the sound was, and when I opened the door to the back part of the office, the roof was gone, and there was water spraying everywhere,” she said. “Then there were firefighters in the square telling us we all had to evacuate because the collapse may have caused damage to the gas lines.”

Luckily, Magoon was able to evacuate her office unscathed.

The partial collapse of 4 Winthrop St. on Sunday, a building that is currently undergoing a rehab as part of Zoning Board of Appeals–approved project, forced the fire department and city officials to evacuate businesses and 28 residents from neighboring homes.

By Sunday night, city officials decided the building at 4 Winthrop St., as well as the adjoining building at 6 Winthrop St. that were both part of the same project had to come down.

On Monday at around 10 a.m., heavy equipment was moved in to begin the demolition process. It only took a slight nudge to the side of the building by one of the heavy equipment operators for both 4 and 6 Winthrop St. to come crashing down into a pile of dust and ruble. In all, it took less than 20 seconds for the two four-story brick buildings to come tumbling down.

The two buildings were unoccupied at the time and were part of a project by the company MG2 to bring eight, new, market-rate units to the area. The plan was to historically preserve the century-old facades of the two buildings while adding a third building next door to 6 Winthrop St.

“Our building at 4 Winthrop suffered a partial collapse Sunday, which led to the decision to completely demolish both 4 and 6 Winthrop on Monday,” said MG2 Vice President Joseph Donovan. “The buildings were undergoing shoring and partial demolition for rehabilitation work so as to preserve the existing facades and incorporate the buildings into a new project.  We are extremely grateful that nobody was injured.  We plan to work closely with the City of Boston and our neighbors in Maverick Square to evaluate the damage and address any inconvenience that has resulted from this incident.  We are also prepared to pay for the costs associated with the superb emergency response by the City so that this does not become a burden of Boston’s taxpayers.  Lastly, we continue to explore the causes which led to this unfortunate incident.”

By Monday night all residents had returned to their homes and some of the businesses reopened.

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