A building along S. Liberty St. in Orwigsburg suffered a partial collapse on Sunday morning.
Neighbors tell The Canary the collapse happened around 8 a.m. Sunday, just as a thunderstorm and heavy rain soaked the area.
When we arrived on the scene, a portion of the second-story facade in the 100 block of S. Liberty St. had crumbled into the wooden barricade set up along the sidewalk. Orwigsburg Borough workers hastily extended security fencing around the area to prevent curious rubberneckers from getting too close.
If that wasn’t enough to keep people from getting too close, a bees nest on the building got disturbed while we were on the scene, unleashing a swarm of easily a few hundred bees in the neighborhood.
Building Collapse in Orwigsburg
You can hear occasional creaks and cracks coming from the building. Scott Rarick, assistant chief with Orwigsburg Fire Dept. tells The Canary the building’s been moving for the last 2 weeks and can’t be sure that this morning’s rain caused the collapse today.
The borough crew quickly put up the fencing because they worried more collapsing could cause glass from windows barely hanging on to the building could burst out onto the street.
S. Liberty St. is now closed from the Orwigsburg Square to W. Independence St.
Rarick says a construction crew will be at the structure on Monday to assess the damage and figure out the next steps. He said residents in the building next door have been advised, but not forced, to find alternate accommodations for the night.
It appeared one woman who lived next door was in the process of making arrangements to stay elsewhere until the failing building was secured.
“That’s what happens when you don’t take care of your building,” said Bill Reppy III, of West Brunswick Township and a former borough resident.
Reppy stopped to look at the property at about 2 p.m. on Sunday.
“It’s a shame he let it go.” he said. “It was a historic building.”
Efforts to reach Orwigsburg Mayor Barry J. Berger and Borough Manager Randall P. Miller via email for comment were not immediately successful on Sunday afternoon.
The Canary has a correspondent in the neighborhood who will be sending updates from the scene.