Eyewitnesses said a piece of equipment falling from a crane set off the deadly disaster. Photo courtesy of Simpson Gumpertz & Heger

To celebrate its 150th anniversary, Banker & Tradesman is highlighting significant moments in the history of Massachusetts’ real estate and banking industries. To suggest a topic, email editorial@thewarrengroup.com.

What: 2000 Commonwealth Ave. Collapse
When: Jan. 25, 1971
Where: Brighton

At 3:30 p.m. on a cold January day in 1971, disaster struck a Brighton building site. Around two-thirds of the floors on a 16-story luxury condominium tower under construction pancaked onto one another and fell to the ground as concrete was being poured for the building’s top floor.

Miraculously, of the 100 or so men on-site at the time, only four were killed. Their bodies were discovered in the building’s basement.

Investigators found cold weather had fatally weakened curing concrete, the project’s owners neglected quality control and unqualified city inspectors didn’t catch that the tower’s floors hadn’t been shored up properly.

“One might liken the current situation in the Building Dept. to a situation wherein one attempts to operate a law department without any lawyers.”

— From the city commission’s report into the collapse

This Month in History: 2000 Commonwealth Ave. Collapse

by James Sanna time to read: 1 min