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Pekin Township supervisor hopes to have damaged building reopened sometime next week

A crane works to remove debris from the Pekin Township building at 418 Elizabeth St.
Courtesy Shannon Saal
Pekin Township Supervisor
Construction crews work to remove debris after a partial collapse of the Pekin Township building at 418 Elizabeth St.

Repairs are underway at one of Pekin Township's buildings after a partial collapse Wednesday afternoon.

Pekin Township Supervisor Shannon Saal said crews on the site Thursday morning were addressing damage to the roof, and an exterior wall at one an adjacent property in the 400 block of Elizabeth Street.

“They're taking (down) three to four feet of the block building on the 418 side, and then I'm going to get a weatherproofing company in here (and) we're going to weatherproof it,” Saal said. “Then we're going to build a slanted roof. So we should be up and running by next week.”

Saal said it appears the damage was caused by water seeping into the wall over time.

“What happened was, the roof on 418 is a flat roof, so there was a bunch of water and it collected the water and basically took the trusses down,” she said. "It didn't go all the way to the floor, it just went down to (above) the first floor."

Saal said she was alerted to the collapse as she was closing the office around 3 p.m.

“I was getting ready to close the doors, and I actually had two county employees come over and they asked me, ‘Do you know what's going on on the west side of the building?’ And I said, ‘No, I do not,’” Saal said. “I walked down to the west side of the building and I noticed that the roof was kind of bowing out a little bit. So I contacted the city of Pekin and contacted all the necessary people that I needed to get the job done effectively.”

Pekin sent out an advisory shortly before 5:30 p.m. on Wednesday, alerting people to the collapse and advising residents to avoid the area. The notice said an emergency demolition would be necessary to make the area safe.

But on Thursday morning, Saal said a full tear-down wouldn’t be required.

“No, no. The whole building is not being demolished. We did not have a gas leak,” she said. “I know Facebook-land had a lot of rumors going around, and no. We are not demolishing the whole building.”

Saul said they plan to have a slanted roof installed as soon as possible.

“Then I'm going to have a structural engineer come in to make sure that everything is structurally sound before we have anyone going into the building, because safety is first,” she said, adding the buildings are closed until further notice — although the building at 420 Elizabeth “is not going to be touched at all.”

Saal said she was continuing to perform her duties while working out of her van.

“This is what we do. I'm here to serve the community, Pekin community residents,” she said. “We go with the flow, and I'm an Air Force veteran so I'm used to picking up pieces. We just plug along and we’re going to do just fine to serve the Pekin community.”

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Contact Joe at jdeacon@ilstu.edu.