A four-story building in Bedford Stuyvesant, for which permits had been filed for demolition late last year, partially collapsed Tuesday afternoon, injuring several people who were passing by, authorities said.
A full demolition application was filed with the city's buildings department on Dec. 12, 2014, but no permits were issued, said an official with knowledge of the investigation.
"The crown in front of the building on top of the roof fell off and everyone was looking," said 27-year-old Leslie Greene, who works inside a clothing store across the street. "About 15 seconds later the rest of the building came down and everyone went running."
Greene said the building, at 1438 Fulton St., appeared to pancake on top of itself.
The unoccupied building crumbled just before 2:30 p.m., an FDNY spokesman said. The building appeared to be mixed residential and commercial.
At least three people were injured while walking past the building when it collapsed, an FDNY spokesman said. More than 100 FDNY units responded as crews used cherry pickers and other equipment to sift through the debris.
The Department of Buildings was on the scene investigating Tuesday, a spokesman said.
The adjacent buildings were evacuated as a precaution.
"We're currently conducting an assessment of the building," said Wayne Cartwright, an FDNY chief. "We will be on the scene for the next 48 to 72 hours."
Witnesses said the building has been abandoned for months. There were no open complaints or Environmental Control Board violations, an official familiar with the investigation said.
Courtney Long, 33, was working across the street and watching a security monitor when he heard the loud noise. He said crews used to work on the building, but hasn't seen them in months.
"I see the side the building literally peel off and then all of a sudden it came down," Long said. "They haven't done any work on it recently."
The building had two prior complaints filed with the city's Department of Buildings: A 2012 complaint of a damaged construction fence that appeared about to collapse and a 2011 complaint about falling bricks.
As a result of the collapse, C trains bypassed Kingston-Throop Avenue for about 90 minutes, both A and C trains are operating with delays, the MTA said. Fulton St. was closed to traffic between New York Avenue and Albany Avenue, while Tompkins Street was closed between Fulton Street and Macon Street, according to the Office of the Emergency Management.
(With Ivan Pereira and Carla Sinclair)