DECATUR — A portion of Martin Luther King Jr. Drive has been closed off after a building started to collapse Tuesday near the intersection of Wabash Avenue.
Decatur Fire Department Deputy Chief Jim Ohl said crews responded to reports of a downed power line at 650 N. Martin Luther King Jr. Drive when they discovered that the north-facing wall of a four-story warehouse was falling apart.
There are no individuals inside and no one has been injured, Ohl said.
With a 20-foot by 20-foot hole on the third and fourth floors of the building, Ohl said they had a crew member fly a remote-controlled drone inside and found that a part of the roof was caving in on a corner of the building, causing the wall to push out and fall apart.
“This is just kind of a sit and wait situation,” Ohl said. “Since we’ve been here we’ve seen pieces crumbling and we just want public to stay away for their safety.”
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Ameren Illinois linemen were also dispatched to the scene to isolate the downed power line and restore power, but they first have to wait and see what happens with the building before they attempt to fix anything.
Paul Keen, a renter from a building across the railroad tracks at 604 E. Cerro Gordo St., said he was inside when he heard about the building falling apart and went to check the scene to make sure nothing was going to damage the building he is renting.
Keen said the building was home to the Walrus Manufacturing plant and was built in the early 1900s.
“It’s going to go and you can see the brick below already pushing out,” Keen said. “The vines also don’t help because they’re turning into the masonry of the building.”
According to Macon County Property Tax Records, the building belongs to John C. Ballog. The building, as of Tuesday, also has an active housing case, according to Decatur's City Code Enforcement Database.
Ohl said they are in the process of contacting Ballog and are figuring out what next steps they need to make.
“There’s nothing to see and there’s no need to come down here and get in anybody’s way,” Ohl said.