ANDERSON, Ind. — When the lights started flashing at Bruce Hardy's office on Meridian Street and he heard some rattling, he had no idea it was related to the partial collapse of a neighboring building.
A section of Meridian Street, a block north of the Madison County Government Center and Courts, has been closed as construction crews begin to remove the first portion of the building by hand.
Hardy said there were no indications the building was a safety threat, although an occasional brick had fallen off the building from time to time.
“I was really unaware it had even happened until my secretary came back and said part of building next door had fallen down,” he said. “Luckily, no one got hurt.”
Bill Byer, an assistant city and private practice attorney, said his assistant was in the office at the time of the collapse and they did lose power and their phones. Byer said his assistant described an eerie sound before the power went out.
“I got back about 15 minutes after it happened,” he said.
Frank Owens, director of municipal development for the city of Anderson, said the building was vacant at the time of the collapse, but a common wall shared with an adjacent building has forced the evacuation of several businesses, including offices used by Hardy and Byer.
“It’s an old abandoned building,” Owens said.
Removal of the building, which has exterior walls four bricks thick, could take up to month in order to maintain the integrity of the shared wall.
“There was no damage to the other building, but we have taken precautionary measures to protect it,” Owens said. “We are going to have to keep them out until it is safe for their return.”
Hardy said he has moved his business temporarily to 1125 N. Broadway.
“It is an inconvenience, really,” he said.