Gadsden officials investigating the cause of building collapse

Published: Dec. 8, 2022 at 10:35 PM CST
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GADSDEN, Ala. (WBRC) - A building collapse in Gadsden has left crews cleaning up debris and rubble since Tuesday.

First responders in responded to a building collapse Tuesday night shortly before 6 p.m. on Forrest Avenue and South 12th Street. No one was reported injured in the collapse.

David Wilson works next door and says he’s noticed work occasionally being done on the building. He was shocked to come to work Tuesday night and see it had fallen apart.

“They come and do work on it,” says Wilson. “We’ve been having a lot of rain so I guess that rain took its toll on the roof. I came back to work that night and look like a Christmas parade was out here or something. It was so many police lights.”

Crews closed off the intersection Wednesday and continued to remove rubble. The city is also investigating what caused the collapse.

The 87-year building is privately owned and had been vacant for three years. The city is working with the owner to see what might have caused the collapse.

“Now there’s an investigation going on into the why,” says Michael Rodgers, Gadsden Public Affairs Coordinator. “There was no immediately apparent cause. But the building collapsed onto itself and part of it came out onto the sidewalk and into the street.”

The entrances were sealed but Rodgers says the fire department searched throughout the building to be sure no one was inside.

“All of the entrances were sealed and had been sealed for some time and so the fire department unsealed those entrances and searched,” says Rodgers. “No injuries were reported and I’m not sure if there’s going to be a condemnation coming out of this. It’s going to be handled by the building department, between them and the city.”

All of the debris has been moved from the streets and sidewalks. The city says the owner will be responsible for the rest of the cleanup.

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