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Vacant portion of Sam’s Fashion building downtown partially collapses

Published: Apr. 8, 2021 at 8:20 PM CDT
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MERIDIAN, Miss. (WTOK) - A vacant portion of the Sam’s Fashion building on 23rd Ave. between 4th and 5th Street collapsed partially just before 7 p.m. Thursday evening.

Officials said no one was in the building at the time. Emergency crews have blocked off the entire area until further notice.

“We just ask that right now that people just stay away. This is a very unstable situation. The building has moved more than once and there’s a lot of debris in the roadway,” Public Safety Director Doug Stephens said. “We don’t feel like it’s safe to get in there now and do any kind of work; clearing the roadway or doing any kind of assessment to the building. We will reevaluate this in the morning.”

Business owners are affected by the collapse. Jenkins Barbershop is next door to the building that fell and says he’s not allowed to go into his business because it’s too unsafe. He said the collapse was only a matter of time.

“The building next to us was bulging. I guess it just fell. It’s been a problem like it was going to fall anyway,” Kevin Jenkins, owner of Jenkins Barbershop said.

The city of Meridian released a statement around 8:20 p.m.:

“City officials report a “safe zone” has been established after a downtown building collapsed on Thursday night. Due to the risk of the structure collapsing further, streets will be closed until all debris is removed and the area is secured.

The following streets will be closed:

  • 23rd Avenue to 5th Street and 4th Street
  • Portions of 5th and 4th Streets west of 23rd Avenue

City officials are monitoring the situation and will update the public on when streets will reopen to pedestrian and vehicle traffic. To ensure public safety, we ask that all residents stay clear of the area until further notice.”

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