MELROSE - Work crews began Wednesday to take down two abandoned Melrose homes that partially collapsed over the weekend.

Local contractors say the two homes, at 463 and 465 E. 159th St., were neglected for years. They say the recent downpours that have washed over the Bronx recently further rotted wood that was in disrepair, leading the homes to partially collapse.

Four families who live next to the homes St. have been forced to temporarily evacuate. Neighbors say the Department of Buildings received a complaint about the homes in May 2000, but never issued a violation.

The demolition is expected to take two weeks.