In a shocking turn of events, the east and north walls of the former Masonic Hall building on Atlantic Street collapsed on April 24, 2023. The incident, which sent shockwaves through the community, was under the supervision of the Metropolitan Wrecking Company at the time of the disaster.
Eyewitnesses reported that the collapse occurred suddenly, without warning, prompting immediate concern for the safety of anyone in the vicinity. Police and firefighters swiftly responded to the scene.
Mr. Robert Smith, a supervisor from the Metropolitan Wrecking Company, spoke to the authorities and stated that the wind was responsible for the collapse of the walls. However, Chief Victor Vite, alongside acting inspector Shillington, expressed skepticism regarding this explanation. Their preliminary investigations led them to believe that negligence on the part of those in charge of raising the building might have played a significant role in the tragedy.
As the authorities continued their investigations, Firefighter Charles Crum played a pivotal role in assessing the situation. Ascending the aerial ladder multiple times, he risked his own safety to gain a better understanding of the extent of the damage and potential hazards. His dedication and bravery were commendable as he worked tirelessly with fellow firefighters at the scene for several hours, tearing down a significant part of the south side wall and the remaining wall on the north side to make the area safe.
City officials, including Mayor Johnson, expressed their concerns about the incident, promising a thorough investigation to determine the cause of the collapse. The safety protocols and measures taken by the Metropolitan Wrecking Company during the building’s demolition will be carefully scrutinized.