City to hire engineer to reevaluate old buildings

BECKLEY, WV (WOAY) – After a roof collapse on Main Street near the end of June, the city considers the safety of other buildings.

“This recent event of a month or so ago on Main Street has been a real eye-opener for us,” said Mayor Rob Rappold.

In June, two buildings on Main Street suffered damage from a roof collapse. Now, businesses are displaced and the street is still closed. While demolition and cleanup efforts are in progress, some wonder if it could happen again.

“In retrospect, when we look at the age of the building and the fact that in the old days, depending on the composition of the roof, the old roof wasn’t always removed before a coating or a new roof was placed on. we think that could’ve played a role in the Walton building.”

Mayor Rappold says the city plans to hire at least one structural engineer to take a look at other buildings that could pose the same threat.

“[We’ll begin] with those that are vacant that don’t have ongoing businesses in them at this time, although the occupied commercial buildings will also be evaluated, they’ll be more toward the end of the priority list.”

No buildings specifically stand out to Rappold as desperately needing reevaluation, but he says he’d rather be safe than sorry.

“We put in a request for quotations out to structural engineers to come in, sit down, say we want to begin with the vacant buildings [and so on.]”

It’s unclear how many buildings will be reevaluated, but the city plans to start on streets like Neville, Main and Prince streets.

Kassie Simmons
Kassie Simmons joined the team in January 2019 as a weekend journalist. She graduated from Virginia Tech in just two and a half years with a BA in multimedia journalism. During her short time at Virginia Tech, she served as the editor for the university’s chapter of The Tab. Kassie was named the top reporter for The Tab at Virginia Tech on multiple occasions and made the list for the top 30 reporters for The Tab in the U.S. She also studied theater performance and minored in creative writing. Before coming to WOAY, Kassie interned at WSLS in Roanoke and the Tidewater Review in her hometown of West Point, Va. She has loved following breaking news since her childhood and has a passion for delivering the stories people care most about. Kassie is excited to be working in Southern West Virginia and looks forward to all the adventures ahead of her. You can follow her on Twitter at @KassieLSimmons and like her page on Facebook. If you have a story you think she should check out, send her an email at ksimmons@woay.com.