DU QUOIN, IL -
For more than a century, the buildings in downtown Du Quoin have stood the test of time, but after a harsh winter three downtown buildings have shown signs of decay.
Structural engineers were able to stabilize the wall of the Hallmark building after it buckled, and masons are fixing a facade on the Embling-Hoffman Building after it gave way, but the latest collapse could be the worst one yet.
"I walked up just kidding a person and I asked if another building fall in and they said yes,” said Joe Engleton.
According to Du Quoin City Administrator Brad Meyers the west wall of the old Higgins Jewelry Store collapsed bringing down everything from the roof to the floor.
"It obviously is an older building as most of them up here are,” said Du Quoin City Administrator Brad Meyers.“This is an issue that could reoccur but hopefully not."
Evidence of Du Quoin's crumbling problem lay everywhere downtown.After three downtown businesses have suffered structural damage in the last year alone many in Du Quoin are worried about the mounting losses.
"I would have to attribute it to age,” said Meyer.“That's all I can do right now because we haven't even gone in the building yet."
"The fire department is monitoring the businesses and trying to check it but some of this stuff is hidden and you can't see the problem,” said Harold Embling, who owns a building that was damaged earlier this year.
A crumbling problem that is all too obvious for Du Quoin residents.
"It's really sad to see what is happening to all of the downtown areas of all of these small communities in Southern Illinois,” said Engleton.“Probably we need to have some structural engineers look this whole area over to make sure that no one gets hurt or killed in the future."
A no occupancy order has been issued for the old Higgins Jewelry Store building until at least Friday when the city hopes that they can get a structural engineer on site to decide a plan of action.