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Building Problems Abound After Storms

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(Credit:  Matt Dwyer/WTIC)

(Credit: Matt Dwyer/WTIC)

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Emergency personnel are at the scene of a building collapse in downtown Middletown,  near the corner of Main and Washington Streets.

The top floor of a 3-story brick office and retail business collapsed, sending bricks flying out onto the roadway.

Main Street is expected to be closed until some time Thursday.  At least one adjacent building was later condemned, and officials had concerns about the structural integrity of several other structures.

Calls started coming into the WTIC newsroom almost as soon as the collapse started.

One nearby business person says there had been creaking and groaning in the multi-story building earlier,  giving everyone time to get clear.

A cellphone caller tells WTIC news he’d stopped, looking at the firefighters rushing to the collapse of part of the building,  when more of it came crashing down,   sending the firefighters rushing for safety,  and bricks tumbling all over Main Street and sending a cloud of brick dust into the air.

He says the fire crew immediately began a head count,  to determine everyone was safe.  Nearby buildings were being evacuated,  and Main Street, Route 66,  was closed between Washington and Liberty.

One of the  owners of the 120-year-old building, Mike Dipiro,   says he was inside before the collapse, when another man heard the sound of beams breaking under the roof.

He says they made a run for it,  and the top floor caved in minutes after the two escaped.

By late afternoon,  crews were  checking the structural integrity of other buildings along the stretch of Main Street,  and residents were evacuated to the high school.

The state  urban search and rescue and regional incident management teams  were brought in to help local authorities deal with the situation.

The collapse was one of a number of problems at buildings around the state.

At Windsor High School,  a break in the fire sprinkler system in the school auditorium sent water into the room.  A spokesperson says the roof did not collapse,  and the fire department pumped water out of the room.  Structural engineers will determine the cause of the break and the extent of damage.  A statement from the school says at this point,  a normal class day is planned for Thursday.

The roof of the  Calvary Life Church on East Johnson Avenue in Cheshire collapsed about 4 this afternoon.No one was inside at the time and there were no injuries reported.The collapsed resulted in a gas leak and Yankee Gas was called to the scene to stop the leak.The town’s Fire Department and Building Inspector were also dispatched.

In Waterbury,  crews were called to a landmark  building on North Main Street.  City Operations Director Joe Geary says Senas’s Bowling Alley at 121 North Main has been closed for a number of years,  but is well known in the community.  it happened shortly after 9:30 this morning. Crews were checking to make sure the building was unoccupied at the time.

In Southington,  authorities were called to building two at Yarde Metals about 11:30 this morning.  Police say everyone inside has been accounted for,  and gas to the building was shut off after a report of a leak.  Another building at the complex had a roof problem last month.

In Cromwell,  fire officials say three businesses in the K-Mart Plaza on Shunpike, near Route 372, were evacuated about 2 p.m.  Fire officials say two cracks were found in the K-Mart building–  one inside and one outside.  Evacuations were ordered there,  and at the “Expect” discount store and the Subway restaurant.  Fire crews remain on the scene.

The hockey rink at the University of Connecticut was closed because of too much ice on the roof.

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