EL PASO, Ill. (WMBD) — A man living in a former commercial building in downtown El Paso is safe Thursday after the building collapsed around 9 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 18.
The building, located at 35 East Front St., is called home for the resident. The cause of the collapse was deterioration.
“I know that there were issues with this building prior to this incident where there were some issues with the roofs falling in or caving in,” said the Director of Public Service for the city of El Paso Barry Kauther.
Although Wednesday night’s scene wasn’t pretty, the resident made it out safely.
“At the time, we did not know if there was anybody in the structure, and we wanted to make sure that we could do whatever means to be able to get somebody out if we had to,” said Neil Gauger, fire chief for the El Paso Fire Department.
Currently, the building is blocked off with caution tape on the sidewalk in front of the building, as well as the back.
“My main concern as Director of Public Service is the safety of the people walking by it or going in it,” said Kauther.
Around noon on Thursday, an engineer inspected the building to analyze the possible next steps.
“I’m going to first look at the damages, see if it’s safe to be in,” said Kauther. “Once we find out what we exactly have going on, then we’ll make a plan of how we want to approach it and how we want to resolve it.”
In the meantime, the city has provided the building owner with a place to stay.
“At this time we’ve made arrangements for him to be able to stay at the local hotel here and try not to displace him from his normal life as much as possible,” said Gauger.