The entire half of the Pekin Township building is under demolition after the second collapse

Published: Sep. 8, 2023 at 6:38 PM CDT|Updated: Sep. 8, 2023 at 6:39 PM CDT
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PEKIN (25News Now) - Part of the back wall of the two-address Pekin Township building at 418-420 Elizabeth Street collapsed Thursday afternoon and took out power for more than 600 people. Now, that entire half a building has to come down.

This collapse follows the first on Wednesday, where Tazewell County maintenance workers noticed the 418 address’s west-facing wall was giving out.

Shannon Saal, Pekin’s Township Supervisor, said after the original collapse on Wednesday, the plan was to tear down only three to four feet above the garage of the 418 half of the building. But when the demolition started on Thursday, they couldn’t control how the bricks fell off the 80-year-old building.

“The claw tried to go into the back portion of that, and it jarred something, and then all the power lines came down,” said Saal. “It was still the back side of that roof that they had to come into, so with the building and how old it is and the structure of it, the brick kind of fell backward, and it hit the power line.”

Saal doesn’t believe this was an operator error, but now, they have to demolish more of the building than they initially planned.

“It was worse than we had expected, so we had to have an emergency board meeting [Thursday] night, and we have to take down the total 418 side,” Saal said.

Nic Maquet, the Chief Building Official, says they still aren’t sure why the building came down.

“It’s hard to tell if it was the roof that collapsed first or if the wall gave out but to ask what the cause is, we do not know,” Maquet said.

The JIMAX team started tearing down structural beams from the one half of the building connected to the 420 Elizabeth St. half, hoping it wouldn’t do more damage.

“I have a structural engineer coming [Friday] afternoon, and we’re going to check out the 420. As of right now, the 420 is okay,” Saal said.

Maquet says there is potential to rebuild in that space, but there is a process such as going through a zoning board of appeals review and building plan review. Saal says it is now up to the Tazewell County board if they want to rebuild in that space.

The demolition plan is to get the 418 half of the Pekin Township building demolished by the end of Friday so clean-up can start next week.