Local business owner closes shop after neighboring building collapses

Posted at 3:21 PM, May 16, 2019
and last updated 2019-05-16 19:57:55-04

SPRINGFIELD, Tenn. (WTVF) — A Springfield business owner says he is fed up after a collapsed building next door forced his shop to close.

It has been more than two months since Soap Brothers owner Harold McGhee was able to work out of his used tire and detail shop on South Main Street.

Strong winds knocked down an old structure next door on March 9, sending a flood of bricks crashing on top his truck and trailers, and all over the property.

“It took a major toll on us. There’s no saving this,” McGhee told NewsChannel 5.

The building was a former gun store that first opened as a leather shop in the 1900s.

The Springfield codes administrator condemned the building after determining it was a hazard and unstable.

McGhee did not realize that when he moved into the location almost three years ago.

Since the remainder of the building could collapse, the fire department said McGhee could not conduct business from the shop until the building is demolished.

Since the collapse, nothing has changed with bricks still covering the property. The heavy damage was clear as soon as you walk behind the shop.

McGhee says he is worried about finances and supporting his four children. He saved up to start the business.

“I have a household and children and the rope is getting very, very tight,” he stressed. “It would be nice to get it cleaned up and not drive by here all the time and not look at your investment go down the drain.”

The assistant city manager tells NewsChannel 5 that the building owner, James Smiley of Nashville, is responsible for the demolition and cleanup.

However, both McGhee and his attorney and city officials say getting in contact Smiley has been near to impossible.

“Nobody has been able to actually get in contact with this man. I was told the city has been out for him for years and can’t get in contact with him,” McGhee added.

There have been countless notices sent to the owner ordering the removal of the structure. There were four posted on the door alone.

The city says it will remove the building on its own if no action is made by the June 3. It will be foreclosed and sold.