BECKLEY, WV (WOAY) – Early Wednesday morning, the roof of the Walton Building, which houses an insurance company on Main Street in Beckley, collapsed.
Because of this, the Beckley Fire Department closed down part of Main Street and McCreery Street throughout the afternoon, and the section of Main Street still remains closed.
“Approximately 3:30 this morning, we were dispatched to a structural collapse on Main Street,” Captain Edward Wills with the Beckley Fire Department said. “It turned out to be the Walton’s Building partially collapsed roof line.”
No one was in the historic building at the time, but the collapse certainly did some structural damage. This afternoon, the city sent out a local project engineer John Sadowski with Centec Engineering to take a look.
“My concern is that the roof has also separated from the front wall of the building, so the front wall of the building is not attached at the top. Walls need to be supported at the top and the bottom,” he said.
Sadowski recommended that the top of the brick wall will need to come down as he fears it will eventually collapse.
He believes it was a combination of the building’s old age with its wood roofing and the recent heavy rainfall that led to the caving in of the roof.
That collapse also left the Wells Fargo building and the New, Taylor and Associates Law Building and the Jan-Care Building with damage as well.
“This is a three-story building,” Sadowski said. “The other buildings that surround it are two stories, and that debris from the Walton Building, the three-story building, has fallen on both of the adjoining buildings.”
Now the owners of the buildings will have to contact their insurance companies who will likely send in structural engineers to do a thorough investigation to see if the lower levels of the buildings can still be saved.
For now, it is looking like that section of Main St will remain closed, and some say it could be days. h.