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1895 building collapses, upcoming demolition planned

Posted at 11:02 PM, May 28, 2020

HARTFORD, Mich. — A building collapse in Hartford is leaving crews scrambling to find a plan for demolition.

The building, which dates back to 1895, had been vacant for at least 10 years. Prior to vacancy, it housed a number of business throughout the years including a pet shop, karate studio, and a canteen.

The collapse happened Thursday afternoon around 3 p.m.

Neighbors who live about a half mile away say they could hear and feel the collapse.

"I just spoke with the contractor and if we get much rain, it’s imminent that it will fall," said Mayor Rick Hall. "So it’s got to come down in short order."

Thankfully, no one was hurt and no one was walking by at the time.

"Thank goodness for covid-19. One good thing that came out of this is that school kids would have been walking by here when school got out today at 2:50 p.m. I’m just happy that no one was hurt," said Mayor Hall.

Likely a combination of old age, lack of maintenance, and weather led to the fall.

Jerry Byars says he remembers putting tar between separating bricks when he used it for his karote studio.

"I could shake that whole building by just by moving my body weight. And that was in 30 or 40 years ago. So you know it was in sad shape then," said Byars.

Multiple people in town tell FOX 17 the building was in the process of being sold and recently underwent an inspection.

It's unclear if that sale will move forward or who will be responsible for paying for the demolition, depending on what step the sale was in.