Pottsville Fire and an emergency demolition crew were on the scene of a partial building collapse in part of the city’s historic downtown Thursday evening.
Pieces of 313 West Market St. began falling to the sidewalk earlier Thursday. When the emergency demolition crew from Quandel Construction arrived, they began dismantling the brick facade to secure the crumbling building.
Building Collapse on West Market St. in Pottsville
The 300-block of West Market St. was closed to vehicular and foot traffic after 7 p.m. Thursday as the demolition crew picked away at the loose bricks. By about 7:30 p.m., most of the third-floor facade had crumbled into two waiting dumpsters on the sidewalk below.
At one point, the men part of the demolition crew picked enough of the bricks away and brought down a sizable portion of the facade. As the bricks fell into the dumpster, a large cloud of dust filled the air.
The immediate goal was to secure the building so it’s safe for traffic to resume past it.
The building at 313 West Market St. was formerly an antiques store but hasn’t been operational for years. It’s currently owned by Bernard Poda, who acquired the building in 2007.
Back in early July, the City of Pottsville Code Enforcement charged Poda with a summary offense of owning a dangerous structure. He was due in court on Aug. 11 but no further information is available from court records.
Street Reopened, Building Secured
By 9 p.m. Thursday, the City reopened the 300 block of West Market St. to foot and vehicular traffic. Dumpsters holding the debris from today’s collapse have been hauled away. The property and sidewalk in front of it have been fenced in.
Pottsville Fire Chief Jim Misstishin tells us enough work was completed on the failing building to at least secure it. But he isn’t sure what the next steps will be as the city deals with its owner in court.
The building definitely appears to be a lost cause at this point. Damage isn’t exclusive to the brick facade.
As the demolition crew worked to pick that apart, especially near the third floor, eyewitnesses to the work said they saw the roof show signs of collapsing. For the time being, however, the roof (or at least what’s remaining of it, is intact.
Here’s a throwback to November 1994 and how 313 West Market St. looked back then, courtesy of the Schuylkill County Map Viewer tool:
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