Collapsed Columbia building to be demolished - WSMV News 4

Collapsed Columbia building to be demolished

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Demolition crews were clearing debris Friday after a building in downtown Columbia suddenly collapsed Thursday night.

Firefighters and police were called about 7:15 p.m. when the building, which formerly housed Champion Shoe Repair, collapsed in the 800 block of South Main Street.

And even though no one was hurt, a lot of nearby business owners aren't happy about the situation.

The owner of Royal's Hair Fashion says she's been complaining about the building for years and said it was just a matter of time before it came tumbling down.

She didn't want to talk on camera but was told by officials Friday she would have to close down for the weekend until the building is completely demolished.

That demolition is an action that people on the square say is long overdue.

"It was roped off. They didn't want anyone on that sidewalk," said Mary Jernigan, who works directly across the street from the collapsed building.

Nearby store owners say they could see the bricks caving in before they left work Thursday, and some wouldn't park near the building for fear of its imminent collapse.

"The hair salon, they've been afraid - been worried about the building," Jernigan said.

"The windows started to buckle, then they started to break. We expected something to be done," said Joel Friddell, who owns a business on the same block as the collapsed building.

Royal's says they've asked city leaders for years to have things fixed, but nothing ever happened. Channel 4 News asked the city manager why they waited so long to take action.

"We had barricaded it off and were in the process of getting it condemned and having it torn down when we found out that there was a potential for some new owners who wanted to come in and do it, so we were going to come in and give them the chance to do it before we actually stepped in," said City Manager Tony Massey.

Those answers aren't enough for shop owners who will lose business in the next couple days, but they are thankful it wasn't worse.

"Everybody's lucky that it happened at 7:30 or so last night when there was nobody in there or around," Jernigan said.

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