Resident uninjured when building roof partially collapses

·2 min read

RICHMOND, Ind. — Gary Johnson woke up about 4 a.m. Saturday in his first-story apartment on North D Street.

When he did, he heard noises from the second story, a place he never goes, leaving that to Monger Transfer & Storage workers.

"I kept hearing noises coming from upstairs," Johnson said. "I thought either an animal got in, or somebody got in.

"I sat on my bed, and all of a sudden it came down. There was a big boom."

The roof collapsed into the second story, sending bricks and debris into North D Street. Johnson didn't know exactly what the boom was until he exited a garage door at the west end of the building.

"I didn't see it until I opened the overhead door," Johnson said. "Then I saw the bricks."

When Richmond Fire Department arrived about 9:40 a.m., a firefighter drove Johnson's pickup truck from the garage across North D Street to the Purina parking lot. Johnson sat inside the truck as he talked about the destruction of the building where he's lived for about 10 years.

"I never thought in a million years this side would come down first," said Johnson, who worked for Monger's and is friends with Eric Monger, the current owner of 521 N. D St., which has east and west sections more than 100 years old.

The Monger business is based in the building's three-story east side. RFD Lt. Kyle George said that side could likely be saved. The collapsed roof only covered the two-story western portion of the building.

George was one of the firefighters to ascend in the department's 100-foot aerial ladder's bucket to view the damage. RFD's drone also flew over the building for a bird's-eye view.

Firefighters tore away some loose elements for a better view, and pulled out a few century-old books from the second story.

Yellow tape crossed the neighboring Crosstown Carry-Out liquor store's parking lot, and North D Street was blocked from North Fifth Street to the intersection with Fort Wayne Avenue and North Seventh Street.

After noon, fire and city officials remained concerned that the building's west wall could collapse into the liquor store's parking lot, causing more debris to fall into North D Street.

Johnson hoped to return to his apartment to retrieve medications and clothes; however, about three hours after the collapse, officials were still deciding the building's fate. Aaron Jordan, the city's building commissioner, decided the west side of the building needed emergency demolition.

Eventually, Johnson was provided some of his belongings, and about 4 p.m., Culy Contracting was preparing to demolish the building's condemned portion.

Richmond Fire Department personnel clears some loose material from a damaged building Saturday, July 2, 2022.
Richmond Fire Department personnel clears some loose material from a damaged building Saturday, July 2, 2022.

This article originally appeared on Richmond Palladium-Item: Resident uninjured when building roof partially collapses