LIBERTY, Mo. — Police confirm that a building built in the 1880s collapsed Tuesday morning on the square in Liberty. The building is the ‘Ethan Allen’ store and was under renovation at One North Water Street on the Liberty Square. The dispatcher initially said no one was inside the building at the time and there were no injuries outside. However, at about 10:45 a.m., there were reports from the scene that someone could still be inside. Crews performed a search and a search dog was brought to the scene, but Liberty Fire Marshal Dustin Paddack said no one was found.
“We did have reports initially that there’s a possibility that somebody had went into the structure, Paddack said. “We’re trying to locate the individual that reported that to our sheriff’s department. We have been unsuccessful in trying to locate that individual.”
A Kansas City building collapse team has set up lasers to monitor the structure and is going inside. The lasers can detect slight building movement that the eye can’t see, a warning that a collapse may be imminent. If a shift is detected, rescue workers can be pulled out quickly.
The cause of the collapse has yet to be determined. Structural engineers are on the scene. All construction workers performing the renovations have been accounted for.
Gene Declue is owner of Rock and Run brewery next door. He says he feels lucky that his four employees got out safely when they heard the collapse.
“I stuck my head out of the brewery, saw that the brick work out front was laying out all over the place,” Declue said. “I ran out front and saw the collapsed building. Yelled for guys to come out. My general manger was yelling at the same time. He was upstairs in the office. We were the only four in the building. We got out as quick as we could and saw this.”