Building Collapse Poses Threat to Neighboring Structures

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By Randy Livingston
By Nick Hausen

DU QUOIN -- Part of Main Street in downtown Du Quoin remains closed after a building partially collapsed. City officials are trying to figure out what to do next.

Neighbors noticed fallen bricks Tuesday afternoon and called about a possible gas leak, but when crews showed up, they realized the problem was much more serious.

The building was once a a popular jewelry store, and more recently a hair and nail salon, but it was vacant now. The top of the west wall collapsed onto the main floor and officials aren't exactly sure when it happened, but they're worried the whole building could come down.

From the outside, it's hard to tell there are any problems with the building but look closer and cracks hint at a larger problem hidden inside.

"You can see it's kind of separating from the other building," said city administrator Brad Myers.

Myers says officials got the call about the building Tuesday night and immediately blocked off the road once the severity was discovered.

"There is concern obviously things will continue to fall and if it does, we're not sure if it's going to implode on itself or maybe the walls will fall forward," explained Myers.

Harold Emling owns one of the buildings across the street. Emling says the city does inspections on the older buildings, but this problem isn't unique to one area.

"I think there were some hidden problems," said Emling. "The building changed hands two or three times and I think nobody took care of them and that's what led to the problems across the street."

Emling says the collapse could leave a void downtown.

"We don't want to lose any downtown buildings," explained Emling. "You go to some other towns and you see empty lots on the main street and we don't want that at all. We want a building there. And if it does have to be torn down, we'd sure like something there to replace it."

The next step is to have a structural engineer come in Thursday and try to determine if the buildings next door can be saved. The building on the west houses an insurance agency, while the one to the east is a consignment shop.

The building's owner is listed as Richelle Lietz of Du Bois.

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