Thursday, October 17, 2019
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Sullivan officials announce emergency evacuation on North Court Street

Photo by KRISTI SANDERS: A three-story building on 12 N. Court St. had a partial collapse Wednesday morning which called for the evacuation of other buildings on the block. Gas has been shut off for the area.

The city of Sullivan announced an emergency evacuation for the 12 N. Court St. block Wednesday morning.

The former home of the Bodine Law Office, the three-story building immediately south of Sullivan City Hall, experienced some unexpected structural degradation this morning, resulting in the City’s decision to evacuate the block the city stated in a press release. The area directly affected includes Sullivan City Hall, Sullivan County Community Corrections, Followell Real Estate, Followell Law, Paws & Claws and Toys Auto Parts (NAPA).

While there had been minor issues over the past several months, city officials had been taking steps to make the building safe with the hopes of preserving the structure. The situation was expedited today due to wind and other unavoidable issues. Therefore, demolition experts have been contacted to complete demolition on the failing building.

“Our ultimate goal has always been to preserve these buildings. We had been in conversations recently to try to do a historic restoration of this building,” Sullivan Mayor Clint Lamb said. “It’s unfortunate that a lot of these buildings that were built around the same time are now having structural issues at the same time. This isn’t a problem unique to our city, but it is happening across the nation. While we want to seek to preserve buildings like this one, the safety of our people is always the most important consideration.”

Lamb has met with the Department of Public Works Director J.D. Wilson, Building Commissioner Brian Pound, representatives from Duke Energy and Ohio Valley Gas Corporation and Sullivan County Emergency Management Director Jim Pirtle to determine the best plan of action. Gas to the area has been shut off and all inhabitants of the block have been instructed to evacuate.

Lamb asks that motorists avoid the area at this time.

This story will be updated as more information is released.

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