Demolition could begin soon for collapsed building

Updated: May. 27, 2021 at 5:33 PM CDT
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MERIDIAN, Miss. (WTOK) - The owner of the property that collapsed in downtown Meridian says demolition on the building could begin next week.

“We’re looking at the asbestos removal,” The owner, Sam Dabit said. “That kind of situation. And then, hopefully next week we’ll get started on the demolition.”

Dabit blames the delay on his insurance company.

Dabit’s insurance company must sign off on asbestos removal. Removing asbestos is a dangerous and complex project - and must be done by a specialized team of professionals.

“We call them probably twice a week or three times a week to get them on a roll—to get them on a ball. To get them going.” Dabit said, “With insurance, it takes a little bit more time.”

We caught the partial building collapse on camera seven weeks ago.

The collapsed building is still a public safety hazard. One lane of 23rd Ave. remains closed.

Mayor Percy Bland says the city is working with Dabit to move everything back to normal.

“People call in. Of course, they would rather two lanes be open, but this is government. This is the process,” Bland said. The past seven weeks have also been difficult for business owner Kevin Jenkins. Jenkins operated a barber shop inside the building and was forced to relocate.

“We decided that we’re not going back. We are going to stay here if we can. And I think this is home now,” Jenkins said.

Dabit hopes to rebuild on the property once the buildings are torn down “With the city of Meridian, they’ve helped out a lot. They put pressure on our insurance company to try to get them on the ball. Get them rolling. Again, just waiting on insurance.” Dabit said, “We didn’t realize how bad insurance can really be when it comes to something of this magnitude.”

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