Building partially collapses downtown, people evacuate - Cincinnati News, FOX19-WXIX TV

Official: Eroded foundation may have caused building collapse

Crews working on Monday afternoon to remove vehicles damaged in building collapse before Court St can be reopen. (FOX19/N.Doll) Crews working on Monday afternoon to remove vehicles damaged in building collapse before Court St can be reopen. (FOX19/N.Doll)
Officials say the that the building was abandoned. No injuries have been reported. (Photo: FOX19 NOW/Gordon Graham) Officials say the that the building was abandoned. No injuries have been reported. (Photo: FOX19 NOW/Gordon Graham)
People evacuated the downtown area after a building partially collapsed Saturday night (Photo: Twitter/@wishshanmarie) People evacuated the downtown area after a building partially collapsed Saturday night (Photo: Twitter/@wishshanmarie)
CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19) -

Officials say the sudden cause of a downtown building collapse may have originated in the structure's foundation and that cleanup could take several weeks.

The vacant three-story building, located at 128 West Court Street, partially collapsed Saturday around 9:30 p.m. and caused $400,000 in damages, Cincinnati Police estimate.

Water erosion discovered in the northeast corner of the foundation could be to blame, according to Ed Cunningham, Cincinnati's Division Manager of Property Maintenance and Code Enforcement. Cunningham says heavy rain on Saturday night may have been the final straw for the structure.

“It was a very dramatic scene when it occurred and it was so sudden. So we are fortunate that nobody was injured," said City Spokesperson Rocky Merz.

Investigators are still working to determine the exact cause of the collapse.

Crews worked on Monday to clear out two vehicles partially buried under the bricks, stone and twisted iron. Court Street from Elm to Race Street is expected to reopen once the vehicles and surrounding debris are removed.

Some of the rubble is being tested for asbestos and full clean-up will begin pending those results.

“The owner has indicated he may want to hand wreck the partially collapsed section and salvage brick, stone, and cast iron in order to reconstruct the collapsed sections of the historic building,” Merz said via email on Monday. Depending on the method of cleanup, it could take several days to several weeks to complete.

The building, constructed in 1865 - the same year the Civil war ended, has no history of structural problems, complaints or recorded violations.

It was purchased in June for $340,000 by The Historic Limited Liability Company. They are responsible for the cleanup cost and process, according to Merz.

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