FREDERICKTOWN — Five Fredericktown families found themselves looking for a place to stay when the roof of their apartment building collapsed overnight, forcing firefighters to evacuate the building at 8 W. First St., on the corner of North Main and West First streets.
According to Fredericktown Fire Chief Scott Mast, his department received the call of a roof collapse at the two-story building at 12:48 this morning.
“When we arrived on scene, we could see where the parapet wall had collapsed,” Mast said. “It was a section of the parapet wall on the roof.”
He estimated the building is over 100 years old.
“The occupants were all still inside,” Mast said.
Residents had called 9-1-1 after hearing the rafters in the attic collapse, and seeing parts of the ceiling fall inside the apartments.
Fredericktown EMS also responded. There were no injuries reported.
“We went up into the attic to check for damage and discovered failures of major roof components, so we evacuated the building because of concerns of the structural stability, and we advised the building owner, who had arrived at the scene,” Mast said.
The building is owned by George Small of Mount Vernon, according to Mast. Besides the five apartments, the building houses a tour company, a cabinet shop and a secondhand store.
The village officials were notified about the collapse. Part of West First Street will remain closed as a potential collapse zone, Mast said.
The apartments themselves escaped most of the damage.
“We found substantial damage to the roof but didn’t observe any evident damage to the contents of the apartments,” Mast said. “Several rafters actually collapsed into the attic.”
The Knox County Chapter of the American Red Cross was on the scene to offer temporary shelter for the apartment residents. However, all arranged to stay with family or friends temporarily.
“People have been removed as a precaution,” Mast said. “[Small] is going to keep people out of the building temporarily, until he can get it properly inspected.”
The cause of the collapse remains under investigation. Fire crews were on scene about two hours.