Two injured after Columbus house collapses during demolition

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COLUMBUS, Miss. (WCBI)- A terrifying scene on Columbus’s Northside Friday afternoon. A building collapsed with three people still inside.

Everyone in the building made it out, but two of them had to be taken to the hospital.

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A crew was working to demolish a house on 10th Avenue North. But workers didn’t plan on still being inside when it hit the ground.

“They were actually trying to move walls out, and I know yesterday the front walls were already out when I passed by there yesterday,” said Lowndes County EMA Director Cindy Lawrence.

The storm that tore through a neighborhood on February 23rd damaged many homes, leaving some of them structurally unsound.

“Because of the tornado and the other higher winds we’ve had in the area since February is to be careful. You know, there’s debris that’s lying around, there’s maybe a broken beam, or a beam has been bent from the storm. To be very, very careful. Try to inspect the outside first and maybe look around the inside, and if you don’t know, please call the contractor or maybe call the building inspection office.”

Bystanders and first responders were quick to jump into action, lifting up the roof and freeing those trapped inside.

And even though they were just trying to help, Captain Marco Rodriguez said they could have hindered the rescue.

“We got to account now for them as well. Instead of just three people that we responded to, now we may be worried about 10 or 12, and we only had seven guys on scene. So in the beginning, it’s a little chaotic, but once we organize it and see what the actual problem is then we can resolve it a pretty quickly,” said Columbus Fire Department Captain Marco Rodriguez.

When a building like this collapses, there can be danger hidden in the debris. It takes intense training to learn how to safely handle the situation.

“The dangers associated with that would be electrical lines would be wood, metal shards, even gas lines would be, and possibly even sewage. We go over all the types of construction and how they respond in that type of environment where whether it be natural disasters or even fires and how to stabilize them and how to safely retrieve people from that type of environment,” said Captain Rodriguez.

A spoken for the city believed workers were unknowingly removing a supporting wall when the home fell.

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