Structural engineer says 3 buildings not safe, will have to come down

A structural engineer told city officials on Tuesday that the three buildings at the northwest corner of Gallatin and Fifth streets is not safe and will have to come down.

But it will likely be some time before those three buildings will be demolished, due to legal issues, and until they can be torn down, the east half of the 500 block of Gallatin Street and north half of the 100 block of South Fifth Street will be blocked off.

Mayor Rick Gottman said the city went to court on Tuesday to get a temporary order that allows the city to "take such minimal steps as may be required to prevent damage to property and injury to persons."

The order also prohibits anyone from entering those buildings during the term of that 10-day order. Exempt from that order are the city's public works, fire and police departments, who are permitted access for "ascertaining the structural integrity of the building."

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The 500 block of West Gallatin Street and the 100 block of South Fifth Street are currently closed to traffic due to a partial building collapse early this morning (Tuesday).

The Fayette County Sheriff's Office, Vandalia Police Department and Vandalia Volunteer Fire Department were notified shortly after 5 a.m. of the collapse.

The third story of a building on the north side of the 500 block of Gallatin Street, the second building west of Fifth Street, collapsed, confirmed by video footage shot by the sheriff's office's drone.

The city had called in its consulting engineers, Crawford and Associates, to have a structural engineer assess the damage and the condition of that building.

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