MEDINA — Local officials fear a building that partially collapsed overnight Sunday in the city’s Historic District can’t be saved.
“At this point, it appears as if it’s going to be a loss,” Fire Chief Bob Painter said. “There doesn’t seem to be a way to stabilize that building.”
Heavy rain most likely contributed to the collapse of the building, built in 1873, at 226 S. Court St., Painter said.
A structural engineer will inspect the building this morning to determine whether it can be saved, according to a city news release.
“We do have big gaps along the north side of the building,” Painter said. “There is some bowing on the north side of the building as well. There have been some creaking and groaning (in the building), as well. We’re afraid that if the rainwater gets under that roof, there’s going to be a secondary collapse.”
The building housed The Gardener’s Cottage, a gift shop owned by Carmen Greenberg, who didn’t respond to requests for comment Monday.
“We are sorry that there is a possibility of (losing) one of our historic buildings, but are thankful there were no injuries as a result of the building failure,” Medina Mayor Dennis Hanwell said in an email. “Our thoughts and prayers go out to the building owners and employees of these businesses during this interruption.”
“There was no one in the building that we were aware of,” Painter said Monday morning. “(The shop) hadn’t opened yet. The police went through that building and the three units to the south. Those units and (Huntington National Bank to the north) have been evacuated.”
South Court Street was closed from Public Square to Smith Road for most of the day Monday, and businesses were closed. Utilities were shut off by Ohio Edison and Columbia Gas.
Any residents affected by the evacuation and needing assistance can call the Red Cross Disaster Relief at (330) 535-6131.
Painter said the fire department, city engineer, building official and the Medina County All-Hazards Team’s collapse, search and rescue division were on hand, as well as a representative from Westfield Insurance.
“Westfield Insurance is coming to help make the determination whether it’s savable or not. All four sides of the building have stress cracks in it, and it’s starting to distort the windows and heave out.”
He said there also are substantial cracks in the roof of the building.
“Some neighbors said the back canopy collapsed (Sunday) night during the Ice Festival,” Painter said. “They said they heard a large crash.”
The call to the fire department came in at 9:02 a.m. Monday. Once firefighters arrived, the second and third floor walls in the back of the building collapsed, Painter said.
“It does appear that water had been leaking out behind the bricks along the back wall for quite a while,” Painter said. “It looks like the lumber and the connectors have been rotting.”
The top two floors of the building are vacant and were undergoing some remodeling.
The Gardener’s Cottage was in its 17th year. It sold jewelry and accessories, special lamps, antiques, garden iron, home furniture, fragrance products and greeting cards, according to its website.
Contact reporter Bob Finnan at (330) 721-4049 or firstname.lastname@example.org.