Partial building collapse displaces Dover resident

DOVER — An often troubled stretch of roadway in downtown Dover was closed indefinitely and a resident displaced following a partial building collapse Sunday.

Repairs to an exterior wall were required before the building at 304 S. State Street could be reopened. The area between North Street and The Green “was closed due to safety concerns and to ensure the safety for the general public,” according to a City of Dover news release.

The area has seen at least seven crashes in about six years (with structural damage involved), the last one in the spring.
The recent incident, however, involved a collapse that apparently wasn’t due to traffic in the tightly constructed intersection.

According to authorities, Dover Fire Department received a call at approximately 6:15 p.m. and Officer in Charge Deputy Fire Chief Marshal Michael O’Connor arrived to find a sagging structure. He then called for the City of Dover Fire Marshal to respond.

A resident was helped from the building and city spokeswoman Kay Sass said the fire department checked on the safety of gas and electric utilities.

Upon arrival, Fire Marshal Jason Osika determined “a section of the front wall where multiple layers of bricks, which were used as a support wall had fallen, damage to an exterior overhang, and several cracks within the remaining wall causing the building to be condemned,” the news release stated.

The displaced resident was receiving assistance from the American Red Cross.

On Monday, city staff (building inspector, fire marshal and code enforcement) coordinated with the building’s owner to confirm the repair process and secure the premises and allow the roadway to reopen. The business owner had consulted with his insurance company and a structural engineer, the city said.

The city met with the engineer who said “that the front of the building is going to need to be removed while reinforcing the inside. In order to complete this work, scaffolding, a lift, supports and other equipment will need to be brought in and remain in place while the work is being completed,” Ms. Sass said.

“Due to this being a public safety matter this section of South State Street is going to have to remain closed until the front is removed and replaced. A definite timeline has not yet been established due to the nature of the extent of the work needed as the project progresses.”

The Benton Lynn Law and Young & McNelis law offices on either side appeared to be undamaged, according to a Facebook post.

Reach staff writer Craig Anderson at canderson@newszap.com

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