Home partially collapses; rest of building could still fall

Home partially collapses; rest of building could still fall
The rest of the building could come down because the ground is saturated with rain water.
One full wall of the building fell late Wednesday night. (Source: NBC12)
One full wall of the building fell late Wednesday night. (Source: NBC12)

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - Several blocks around Jackson Ward are shut down Thursday morning because a house on Duval Street and First Street could collapse.

John Walsh, the Operations Manager for the City of Richmond's Code Enforcement Division, said he was notified roughly 30 minutes after first responders arrived on scene.

"We believe the collapse happened shortly after midnight," Walsh said.

"When I passed by here I saw the fire department sitting out here and I just saw half the building gone," said Michael Holman, a passerby. "I was like whoa! What the heck!"

The Code Enforcement Division anticipates the area surrounding the building to be cautioned and sectioned off for the next 24 to 48 hours.

"We're trying to get a building engineer in there to take a look, and put together some temporary bracing," Walsh said. "Once it's stabilized and not a threat to anyone, can we then go in and start figuring out what happened."

Leaving drivers and people walking on foot to take detours.

"I'm going to change and go that way," said Andrew Brown, who lives in the area.

The awning of a porch could be seen on the ground Thursday afternoon beside the rubble scattered across the yard.

"Crazy!" Holman said.

Should the building collapse, debris could be sent from 20 to 50 feet away, so the area around the home has been closed.

A woman who lives in the house said she was awakened by a loud boom when part of the building fell off late Wednesday night.

One full exterior wall of the structure has collapsed and the fear is the rest of the building could come down too because the ground is saturated with rain water.

As for the building itself, Walsh estimates it was built in the early 1900s. Several other buildings near the one in question have similar brick work and appear to have been built in the same time period.

"I know these ones right here are classic," Brown said.

"We're on top of this issue," Walsh said. "We want to make sure everyone stays safe."

While city officials continue to investigate the damage of the building, it's unknown whether it can be fixed or if the city will have to condemn and demolish the entire building.

"I would hate to see it go because it's kind of historic," Holman said.

Several people live in the building. The American Red Cross was called to assist at least one person displaced because of this partial collapse.

No injuries have been reported.

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