Portion of Montpelier building collapses in windStefan Hard
On a windy Sunday afternoon, Montpelier police and fire personnel look up to where a long wooden board and numerous bricks fell from the topmost portion of the building housing Aubuchon Hardware in Montpelier. See page B1. Staff Photo
MONTPELIER — Gusting winds and deteriorating mortar are believed to be to blame for the Sunday afternoon collapse of a portion of a crumbling brick parapet wall atop the historic downtown building that houses Aubuchon Hardware.
Fire Chief Robert Gowans said roughly a dozen bricks, a 12-foot section of two-by-four, and some copper flashing all fell to the sidewalk at about 2:30 p.m. No one was hurt, he said, and emergency personnel quickly cordoned off the sidewalk and seven parking spaces in front of the building and summoned a structural engineer.
Representatives of DeWolfe Engineering responded to the scene and removed loose brick in two or three areas along the parapet wall, which extends roughly 3 feet above the roofline of the building, owned by the Aubuchon family.
A tarp was placed over the wall, and Gowans said the sidewalk and parking spaces were kept off limits as a precaution overnight. He said representatives from DeWolfe planned to return to the building and conduct a more thorough analysis and consult the building's owner before deciding how to proceed.
According to Gowans, a decision about whether to reopen the sidewalk would likely be made by midmorning.
A pedestrian reportedly alerted emergency personnel that the bricks were falling Sunday.
According to Gowans, it appeared gusting winds got under a section of copper flashing on the roof, toppling some of the brickwork.
“It was very windy,” he said.
The parapet wall is an architectural feature of the late-19th-century building but does not have any structural significance, Gowans said.
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