PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — A roof collapse at a building in Munhall Sunday afternoon prompted officials to close down part of a road over fears that more of the building could come tumbling down.
According to authorities, the collapse happened around 2:30 p.m. at the old AAMCO transmission building on 8th Avenue near the border or Homestead and Munhall.
Jim Grogan and a Homestead police officer saw the old building give way.
“It sounded like a big explosion,” said Grogan. “The cop was there and then all the sudden we just [saw] the roof [fall].”
Smoke and debris could be seen after the roof came down.
“We came down here and found the building had indeed collapsed,” said Deputy Chief Ed Pletzsch, of the Munhall Fire Department. “The roof had come down inside, and so the walls were pushed out in the rear of the structure.”
Firefighters searched the building as well as a business next door to make sure no one was hurt.
“At this point, it’s still moving. There’s still a danger of collapse,” added Deputy Chief Pletzsch. “We’re, of course, worried that it’s either going to collapse into the street or into the alley and injure somebody, so Munhall has declared an emergency situation here, which allows us to, allows the borough to demolish the building.”
Firefighters shut down 8th Avenue from Dickson Street to McClure Street while they work to secure the area. It has since reopened and the perimeter has been moved back while decisions are made about the demolition of the building.
Munhall’s mayor says the area is a busy one during the work week, so the fact that the collapse happened on a Sunday afternoon when no one was around was a blessing.
“It’s a good thing there was no one walking,” said Mayor Ray Bodnar. “That was my first worry was that somebody might be on that side of the street walking or whatever, and we’d have a terrible problem then or one of our guys getting hurt.”
Late Sunday night, demolition crews were just beginning the process of tearing the unsafe parts of the building down.
Stay with KDKA for the latest details.