Winchester Fire Department responding to roof collapse


2:22 p.m.

“I know I was shaken up more than anything,” said Rony Jo Ballou, a broker for Good Auction Group and Power House Realty.

Ballou described the chaos after finding out what was happening at her office building.

“I’m not sure what went through my mind. It was like my phone just kept ringing so just get to it and get it going and we just try to stay positive about it all. We’ll get it taken care of,” said Ballou.

Whiteley described the scene.

“What we found is that there is a parapet wall that extends about 2 feet above the flat roof line. That for some reason had collapsed onto the roof. That roof pancake collapsed into the apartment below it. The collapsing issue stopped at that point. But what we have found is that we have reached maximum weight capacity as far as water is concerned. So we took what we call a vent saw and we cut some holes in the floor to let that water have an escape path,” he said.

Whiteley says no one else was in the building at the time of the incident, besides the one woman taken to the hospital.

While there was a lot of damage, Whiteley is thankful it wasn’t worse.

“Very blessed that more injuries didn’t incur because of this incident, very thankful for the time of day that children were in school. Also thankful that it’s not nighttime. So, all in all, it’s a bad day, but it could have been much worse,” he added.

The Red Cross was called in to help tenants with any needs.

In the meantime, Ballou said while this isn’t the first time water damage has destroyed her offices, she’s not letting it slow her down.

“We’ll get us a new office, we’ll keep going and it just doesn’t slow us down,” she said.

Whiteley says they used the Winchester Police Department’s drone to fly around other businesses in the downtown area to make sure there was no standing water on any other rooftops. They found two others they plan to now address to help prevent something like this from happening again.

11:56 a.m.

The three-story building that had its roof collapse around 9:30 a.m. was home to apartments and a realty group.

Chief Chris Whiteley says a parapet wall collapsed onto the roof, causing it to cave in. One woman was taken to the hospital but she’s expected to be OK. Water is believed to have caused the damage, Whiteley says.

Another tenant who lived in an apartment in the building told ABC 36 she lost nearly everything — but her cats made it out alive, and she’s thankful.

Watch drone footage, courtesy of Winchester police, below:

11:06 a.m.

The Winchester Fire Department is responding to a “structural collapse” at 1 East Lexington Avenue.

The Lexington Avenue/Main Street intersection will be closed for an undetermined amount of time as crews respond to the incident, the Winchester Fire Department said in a Facebook post.

No other information was immediately available.

ABC 36 has a crew heading to the scene and has reached out to the fire department for more information.


This is a developing story. Stick with ABC 36 for updates

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