COLUMBUS, Miss. (WCBI) — Downtown Columbus was shut down this evening after a wall collapsed at a local business.
A five o’clock call led emergency responders to 421 Main Street. A back wall collapsed, and gas began to leak.
“We evacuated everything from second avenue north to main street and main street to fourth street north so because of the gas leak,” says Mark Ward.
Battalian Chief, Mark Ward with Columbus Fire Department says their main concern is to keep the area clear while the gas company repairs the leak.
“Atmos has some heavy equipment coming because they can’t get up under the rubble cause the building is still not safe. That second story is very unstable so they are going to have to find the line out under this concrete and cut the line and cut the gas meter. Also it will probably be a couple of hours before the gas is cut off,” says Ward.
Construction was underway at the main street location when the wall fell. Kenneth Weigel, enforces building codes in Columbus. He’s inspected the structure before and believes he knows what went wrong.
“There was some problems with the existing foundation and I understand some gentlemen were doing some brick work up here today. I’ve checked and we didn’t have a building permit for anything on the back of the building so that’s what appears to me,” says Kenneth Weigel.
Weigel said the Monday incident is an example of why codes, permits and precautions are important steps to take before starting construction.
“This particular case, the owner should have employed a structural engineer to look at the building, make corrections and then obtain appropriate permits with the appropriate licensed individuals,” says Weigel.
Owner, Anna Davis suffered from an arm injury. She was taken to the Baptist Memorial Hospital.