Cause Of Columbia Building Collapse Under Investigation - NewsChannel5.com | Nashville News, Weather & Sports

Cause Of Columbia Building Collapse Under Investigation

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COLUMBIA, Tenn. – A vacant brick building collapsed at the city square in downtown Columbia, leaving officials trying to figure out how to clean the scene with a weekend festival planned for the weekend.

Crews from the Columbia Fire Department were called to the 800 block of South Main Street at 7:16 p.m. Thursday.

Chief Lee Bergeron said the old shoe repair building was built in the 1920s and was vacant. He said 60 percent of the building collapsed. No was injured during the incident.

South Main Street was closed while officials worked to assess the damages and crews prepared to clear the debris. 

Bergeron said there was some work being done for possible renovations, but they were not sure what exactly caused the building to collapse. 

The initial investigation speculated the old age of the building may have been to blame for its collapse. 

Engineers were called out early Friday morning and said preliminary information indicated the adjacent buildings did not sustain any structural damage. 

The City Manager said the back of the building was found to be structurally sound, while the front of the building was still unsafe. 

The owner of a neighboring hair salon was on the scene, trying to determine when his shop could open for business.

Police tape was put up in the area to keep people away from possibly unstable debris. Two cars were parked outside the building and were left behind the tape. It was unknown if the vehicles sustained any damage from falling debris.

Barricades were up around the debris, but the same barricades could be seen in Google Street View images from April.

Officials said they were trying to find the best way to stabilize the building and clear the debris with the city's Southern Fried Festival scheduled for the weekend near the site.

The festival usually forces downtown road closures and draws about 10,000 people.

"Well, we'll reroute traffic with police and public works to make sure everybody can come and enjoy that, but the great news is we had a quick response and nobody was hurt," said Bergeron.

South Main Street was already scheduled to be closed for the festival, but officials said they would leave some of the road off limits.

There was no word on when officials expected to have the debris cleared.

Officials said they hoped to have road open by Saturday so local businesses could reopen. 

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