Detroit — An emergency demolition order has been issued for a building in Eastern Market deemed a threat to public safety.
The Del Penney Building, located at the corner of Winder and Russell Streets in Detroit, partially collapsed at about 11:38 a.m. Saturday.
The current damage assessment indicates the building’s south facade collapsed onto the sidewalk from the third and fourth floors, said David Bell, director of Detroit’s Department of Building, Safety and Environmental Engineering.
“The decision to e-bid (emergency demolition) is based on the building presenting an imminent risk of further collapse in a location that poses an immediate threat to the safety of the public’s lives,” Bell said. “A full damage assessment has not been undertaken due to concern for the health, safety and well-being of those who will enter.”
Bell said the building was condemned and no one could enter it.
A bystander on Saturday suffered minor injuries and was taken to Detroit Receiving Hospital while all other employees were evacuated, according to the Detroit Fire Department.
The commercial building at 2501 Russell St. is owned by a Southfield-based LLC, according to city tax records. It has been home to several businesses, including Beyond Juicery and Eatery, Jab’s Gym, and Detroit Vs. Everyone and Brooklyn are outdoors, according to the Eastern Market Guide.
The cause of the collapse was also not known on Saturday. A Detroit Fire Department representative could not be reached for comment Sunday regarding the injured person’s condition or the cause of the collapse.
Armond Harris, owner of Gap Boxing Gym on the third floor of the building, was inside when the wall collapsed. Harris said you can now look inside his gym from the street.
“The brick wall failed and basically collapsed,” Harris said. “Our gym is dark inside and we have shades up there, and in an instant, our windows were just ripped out.”
Harris said the scene was chaotic, with people running to get out of the building as quickly as they could.
“Once the building started collapsing, people didn’t really understand how it was going to collapse. You know, is the roof going to collapse? Is the floor going to collapse?” Harris said.
Harris was told the city planned to demolish the building Saturday night. He has no idea what will happen to his business.
“It’s very stressful,” Harris said. “I’m just praying for all the businesses and lives affected in this building.”
Bell recommended that the building’s previous tenants plan to move their businesses.
“We will do everything we can to help them stabilize quickly,” Bell said.