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Former Curtis Department Store collapses Monday morning

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WILLOW SPRINGS -- A building in downtown Willow Springs unexpectedly collapsed Monday morning.

City Administrator Beverly Hicks said the former Curtis Department Store building, 226 East Main St., collapsed at 7:45 a.m. The building was vacant and no injuries were reported, she added.

“Our first goal is to clear the debris and shore up the exterior walls of the nearby buildings,” Hicks said as she pointed to the western wall of an adjacent apartment building. She said there is potential danger that, as the collapsed building fell in on itself, its exterior walls may have pulled on the walls of the adjoining buildings, damaging them.

The apartment building’s tenants have been evacuated and have found housing, said Hicks, adding that Red Cross assistance has been offered.

Building owner Blake Browne said the building had been slated for demolition this summer, and that he had recently been on the roof of the building and didn’t notice any structural issues. As of Monday morning, he wasn’t sure what caused the collapse.

Hicks said East Main Street between Harris and Walnut streets would remain closed through the rest of Monday and likely into this morning as crews work to clear the scene and ensure there are no threats to public safety.

City officials are investigating the cause of the collapse.

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