SOUTH SIDE (KDKA) – There’s no indication if wind is to blame for part of a brick building collapsing on the South Side Monday morning.
Three stories worth of bricks tumbled down to the sidewalk below, which forced the closure of several roads.
A gaping hole was left in the side of S&S Candy on South 21st Street as bricks buckled and dangled over the sidewalk.
“We’re very lucky it happened when it did and that no one was underneath that,” Bureau of Building Inspection Chief John Jennings said.
The collapse happened at the popular wholesale and retail candy and tobacco store as people watched. Not only was the store evacuated, but two other buildings were cleared out as well.
“Some of the structure inside has been compromised, so I don’t want anyone in the building right now,” Jennings said.
“[It sounded] like a bomb going off, really. I was surprised. I looked and I said ‘I guess we ain’t going to this store anymore,’” Mark Pearson said.
“It was like a big boom. You could hear the crunching from all the wood on the side. I walked around and there was dust everywhere,” Mickey Eglir said.
While an engineer will make the final determination, it seems the warmer weather may be partially to blame for the collapse.
“This is typically caused by a freeze-thaw situation where moisture or water gets between the bricks, freezes, delaminates the bricks or breaks the bond between the bricks. And when everything thaws, then it causes the bricks, they’re separated, so there’s nothing supporting them and they break away and fall,” Jennings said.
There are no reported injuries.
Meantime, a building inspector says the building is considered structurally sound except for the part that collapsed.
A contractor will be on scene to start cleaning up the debris from the road and securing the building. At that point, the road can reopen.