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Large section of building near Louisville school collapses, wall was already a city concern

Posted at 4:48 PM, Jan 23, 2018
and last updated 2018-01-23 17:22:43-05

Hundreds of bricks came crashing down Tuesday morning after a wall collapsed on a vacant downtown building in Louisville.

The building, a former general store located at 133 E. Main Street, sits near a Catholic school and both city and county officials feared something like this could happen because of a bowing wall.

Diane Trubisky lives next door. She also noticed the building was bulging in recent months and wasn't surprised when she heard loud crashing noises around 8:30 a.m.

"I've been watching this for months because I thought it was gonna actually take our building down," Trubisky said. "I knew it was gonna happen and it was just literally a big boom. That was it. Done."

Louisville City Manager Tom Ault and staff at St. Louis Catholic School counted their blessings that no one was hurt.

"Anybody, child or adult, could have been killed by the falling brick," Ault said.

City officials were first notified about a potential problem with the building last September. The city has authority to do residential inspections, but not commercial inspections.

Ault said the Stark County Building Department was notified about the concerns with the building on December 23.

Inspections were done on Dec. 26 and Dec. 27. Stark County Chief Building Official Angela Cavanaugh indicated there was a danger of the outside wall falling into the alleyway. She recommended the alley be closed until repairs were made. The city put up barricades on December 27.

"I acted immediately," Cavanaugh told News 5.

Cavanaugh also said the county does not have authority to tear down the building because it's repairable.

She indicated an engineer, working for the building's owner, submitted plans to fix the building. Coincidentally, those plans were approved by Cavanaugh less than two hours before the collapse.

Despite the attention from the city and county, Trubisky feels there should have been more of a sense of urgency to prevent the collapse.

"Absolutely. It should have been done as soon as they saw it bulging because there's kids right there," she said.

Ault said plans are now in the works to shore up the building to prevent more parts of the building from falling.

Fire Chief Rod Bordner said the department will keep an eye on the property, hoping there will not be any further collapse.

"It all depends on the weather," Bordner said. "If we get some snow or something, we could get some weight on that roof which would push the walls out."

News 5 was unable to contact the owner of the building.