OLATHE, Kan. — In storms like the one Monday morning, you never know where the hand of Mother Nature is going to come down and do some damage.
The people working on a vacant industrial building at 167th and Theden didn’t expect it, but the decisions they made could have saved their lives.
“Was it wind, was it water, was it weight, was it all of these things combined?” Olathe Fire Captain Mike Hall asked.
Something pretty strong hit the corner of the building, causing the wall and roof to collapse during the storm.
“That roof that you are looking at is meant to be supported and obviously the support system is damaged right now,” Hall said. “The structure, the integrity of the structure, right now they are working with a structural engineer to make it safer.”
Two fire sprinkler contractors working inside of the building decided to go to lunch at just the right time. After they left, the building collapsed in the area where they had been working.
“We are very thankful that they were not it the building when the collapse occurred,” Hall said.
It is a huge industrial building that is mostly open space. But where the collapse happened is the offices of the building. If whatever happened to bring that part of the building down didn’t happen now, it could have collapsed in the future when the company moving in here is up and running.
“Obviously if this was during the middle of the week like it is today, a work day, then you have office folks in there and it could have been a whole different outcome.”
Structural engineers worked to shore up the building Monday to avoid any further damage until engineers can determine what failure caused the collapse.
Around 11:30 a.m. Olathe firefighters went to a partial bldg collapse near 167th St. & US169. Bldg is new and unoccupied. Fire sprinkler contractors were working in the building before the collapse, but left for lunch prior to the incident. No injuries or damage estimate. pic.twitter.com/fDxpckLqmR
— Olathe Fire Dept. (@OlatheFire) August 26, 2019