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Brooke Worley

Crews demolish Warren building after collapse

Crews have demolished a vacant, two-story building in downtown Warren after part of it collapsed Friday night during the Salamonie Summer Festival, leaving two people with minor injuries, authorities said.

The roof of the building at 122 N. Wayne St. caved in just after 8 p.m. and the brick facade tumbled onto the street where a parade had passed minutes before.

One of the first police officers at the scene, Warren Town Marshall Dennis Spitler, arrived to see a pile of bricks on the ground, a cloud of dust and some debris still falling. He said that before the collapse, bystanders heard cracking and popping which prompted them to move away from the building.

While the cause of the collapse is still under investigation, Spitler said authorities do not suspect foul play and believe the building was likely structurally unsound.

The collapse left one adult with a bruise and another with scratches; both were treated at the scene, Spitler said.

As safety measures, crews shut off the natural gas to the building and temporarily cut electricity in the area before demolition of the building began Friday night. An adjoining building to the south of the one that collapsed also had to be razed because of its poor structural integrity, Spitler said.

He said no one was inside the building that collapsed, which was at least 100 years old and most recently had been a food market before sitting vacant for 10 years or more. A phone message left for the owners of the building, Mark and Jan Weight, was not returned Saturday.

The Warren police and fire departments and the Huntington County building inspector are investigating the collapse, Spitler said. It was not immediately clear when the building was last inspected.

The Salamonie Summer Festival continued that night with a magic show. TodaySunday is the last day of the festival.

aingersoll@jg.net

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