Demolition at Gardens results in collapse of building

Crews work to clean up debris following the partial collapse of an old apartment building on Monday at Mt. San Antonio Gardens. Residents in the area reported hearing a loud crash from the site around 1 p.m. which set off car alarms along Bonita, and for a brief time the street was closed. A new complex called The Cedars, which will include 53 units, will be constructed in the same location with completion planned for 2023. COURIER photo/Steven Felschundneff

by Steven Felschundneff |
On Monday, what some residents on Bonita Avenue initially thought was some type of explosion turned out to be the demolition of a building at Mt. San Antonio Gardens that went a bit faster than planned.

At about 1 p.m. a loud crash was heard in the area, setting off car alarms and creating a large dust cloud, the apparent result of a partial collapse of Building D at the Gardens. The structure had been under demolition for months to make way for a new development at the retirement community.

“[On] January 10 demolition of the supporting structure, which includes vertical steel beams and horizontal concrete slabs, commenced. Work began on the west side of the building, which unexpectedly caused the second and third floors of the east end of the building to give way and fall. As this created an overall unstable situation, the decision was made to demolish the remaining standing portions expeditiously in order to stabilize the site,” President and Chief Executive Officer Maureen W. Beith said in a statement.
Pomona Fire Department as well as building and safety officials have inspected the site.

An hour or so after the collapse, work crews were cleaning up the site where the pancaked floors were visible, as was an emergency staircase which remained standing. Witnesses said Bonita was briefly closed to traffic.

The demolition began in November 2021 after several years of planning, and included hazardous materials abatement, salvage of useful building components, and utilities isolation.

“The demolition planning and permitting process included structural engineering analysis of “as-built” plans, to determine the appropriate demolition methodology and needed safeguards,” Beith said.
A new complex called The Cedars, which will include 53 units, will be constructed in the same location, with completion planned for 2023.


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