The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

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July 24, 2013

Overnight collapse forces razing of downtown building

JOPLIN, Mo. — The historic Carl Adams Building, 910-912 S. Main St., collapsed early Wednesday, sending debris spilling across a sidewalk and into the street.

City officials were concerned about whether someone might have been in the vacant building when it collapsed. They also were concerned about the stability of a building south of it.

Fire Department crews searched the building immediately after the collapse, then called in a team with search and rescue dogs to make an additional sweep.

Fire chief Mitch Randles said fire crews conducted several searches, gaining access through the back of the building.

“We searched each of the floors and void spaces for any individual that might be there,” he said. “We found no one, then we called in a canine team with Missouri Task Force One and they did a search.

“After it got light and they brought the heavy equipment in, we did another search. There’s still a couple of spaces very high up on the building that we couldn’t get to safely, but we’ll be checking them.”

The collapse will leave an even larger hole on the west side of the city block where the historic Rains Brothers Building, just to the north, was destroyed by fire last year. Both structures were on the National Register of Historic Places.

The Carl Adams Building, which had four floors, fell in just after 2 a.m. Wednesday.

Main Street was blocked between Seventh and 10th streets for much of the day as city public works crews used excavators and other equipment to clear away the debris. Access will be restricted until contractors called in by the city finish clearing what remains of the building, Randles said.

San Anselm, assistant city manager, said city building officials want to get the debris cleared away so engineers can determine if there is a danger posed to the building to the south.

“What’s left of it is leaning to the building to the south, and we’re concerned about the structural integrity there,” he said.

Officials believe recent rains might have increased the weight on the structure’s roof, causing the walls to push out and give way, Anselm said.

“That’s how it appears, but engineers haven’t gotten in yet,” he said.

The Carl Adams Building was constructed in 1914, according to Leslie Simpson, an expert on Joplin’s historic buildings. It originally was Carl Adams Furniture Co. and later Home Furniture.

City records show that the building and the one to the south are owned by Boomtown Block LLC. Attempts to reach the firm’s principals, through the firm’s registered agent, were unsuccessful Wednesday. The building was listed as being for sale.

Mark Williams, a minority owner of Boomtown Block LLC, in a Facebook post Wednesday night, said: “We regret the loss of a historic building on Main Street ... we hoped to save. Yet the fire from the homeless person in the adjacent building last year apparently weakened this additional building.”

The Rains Brothers Building to the north was destroyed by fire in March 2012. That building, constructed in 1900, had been occupied by Miner’s Hardware Co. and the Roosevelt Hotel. What was left of the structure was demolished several days after the blaze.

Officials at the time said the fire caused moderate damage to the Carl Adams Building and minor damage to The Pub bar, 904 S. Main St.

Howard Beason, owner of the bar, said there was no one in his building at the time of the collapse. He said he did not believe the collapse would have any significant impact on his business.

“I don’t think it’s going to hurt us except for them having Main Street blocked off,” he said. “We were closed for 30 days after the fire.”

Demolition

B&D YARDBUILDERS is handling the demolition of the Carl Adams Building. Fire chief Mitch Randles said he expects it will take a day or two to finish the work.

“THEY’LL BE WORKING to bring down the rest of the building without damaging anything else,” he said. “They’ll be taking it slow, and that’s what we want.”

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