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COLLAPSE RUINS BALLOONS FOR TIMES SQUARE EVENT

The upper floors of a vacant six-story building in Times Square collapsed early today, ruining 20,000 balloons and other equipment intended for the New Year's Eve celebration, Fire Department officials said.

The building had been slated for demolition in the spring.

"If this was midnight (New Year's Eve), there would have been a lot of people who would have gotten hurt," said Eugene McMahon, a spokesman for the city's Department of Environmental Protection, who was at the scene.

No one was injured in the collapse, which occurred at about 5:20 a.m., said Fire Department spokesman Frank Zitaglio. The cause was under investigation, and it was not immediately known if Monday night's storm and high winds contributed to the collapse, Zitaglio said.

Police closed 42nd Street in both directions between Seventh and Eighth avenues.

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