HOUSTON – Following the collapse of its roof on Tuesday evening, the Houston Board of Aldermen voted to condemn the Franklin Lowe Building on the east side of the square.
Houston firefighters were dispatched to the scene around 4 p.m. on Tuesday, June 1 for the collapse, which had been called in by the neighboring LifeCorp.
Once on scene, they worked to secure the area by setting up barriers as well as bring in a Natchez Trace Electric Power Association crew to unhook the power lines from the building.
While on scene, the building continued to make popping and creaking noises, which responders felt meant it wasn't through.
Therefore, Fire Chief Jonathan Blankenship came before the board at their meeting later that same afternoon to ask them to condemn the building and declare it an emergency situation due to the high likelihood of further collapse.
According to Blankenship, the building poses a significant threat to the health and safety of the public and should be treated as such.
There was initially some apprehension as to condemning it, because that would most likely mean tearing it down, however, the board ultimately voted unanimously to condemn the building.
They were going to work on getting a structural engineer in to assess the situation and tell them how best to proceed.
Blankenship said that it was very time sensitive, as this was not a process that could be put off for months on end, and that is why he brought it to the board's attention immediately.
The building is the last building on the northeast corner of the square.