Abandoned building collapses in downtown Whiteville

Updated: Sep. 13, 2019 at 10:39 AM EDT
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WHITEVILLE, N.C. (WECT) - An abandoned building in downtown Whiteville collapsed while undergoing construction Friday morning.

According to Whiteville Director of Emergency Services Hal Lowder, no one was injured when the building on E. Main Street collapsed at approximately 9 a.m.

The building has been vacant for about five years and no one was hurt. Lowder, however, did say some vehicles in the area were damaged during the collapse.

“About 9:01 this morning, we got a call that there was a collapse,” Lowder said. “This building here, they were attempting to do some work on the roof. And the way those buildings are constructed, all that’s tied in. So when they had the backhoe here working on the roof, it compromised the building.”

The Whiteville Fire Department and a county engineer spent a lot of Friday going through old building plans, which show that most of the buildings on this block are all connected.

“As you can see, it’s like a big Jenga game. You move one piece, and then you have the resulting collapse," Lowder explained.

Firefighters evacuated the two businesses next door. They will remain closed until emergency services can be sure the walls once shared with this vacant building are sturdy.

“We want to stabilize the structure before we do anything else. So we have an engineer on site that’s advising us on the best way to shore that up so we don’t cause any further damage," Lowder said. " We have the old building plans out to see how it was built.”

HAPPENING NOW: Emergency crews are at the scene of a building collapse in downtown Whiteville. No injuries have been reported. https://www.wect.com/2019/09/13/abandoned-building-collapses-downtown-whiteville/

Posted by WECT News on Friday, September 13, 2019

Some women working in the Polish Salon next door said it sounded like a bomb had exploded when the roof collapsed.

“We were fixing something in there and all of a sudden we heard a collapse and it was awful. We didn’t know what happened," said cosmetologist Kareesa Enzor.

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