Car crashes into downtown Ardmore building causing collapse

Drew Butler
The Daily Ardmoreite
A lone shelf stands inside 119 N. Washington St. after the building's facade fell away Saturday, July 10, 2021. Almost one year before, on July 30, 2020, a building across the street partially collapsed and left the remaining section of brick wall seen in the foreground with graffiti.
Bricks from the facade of 119 N. Washington St. lie in the roadway Saturday, July 10, 2021 after a partial building collapse. The building and the neighboring Mulkey Hotel were both built in 1910, according to county records.

In the early hours of Saturday morning a vehicle crashed into 119 N. Washington St. causing the building to collapse. At this time there do not appear to have been any injuries because the building was unoccupied at the time. The driver of the vehicle appears to have left the vehicle after the accident but prior to the building collapse, and police are still investigating who was behind the wheel of the car.

City Manager Kevin Boatright said city officials and police were initially unaware of what caused the collapse and only realized there was a vehicle under the rubble once they started looking.

“At that point it became very urgent because we thought there might be someone trapped inside the car,” Boatright said. “The fire and police did an outstanding job and broke out all kinds of equipment to get to that car to find out if someone was it in. Fortunately nobody was inside the vehicle and nobody was injured that we know of.”

Boatright said police contacted the owners of the vehicle and are looking into who was driving.

As for the building itself, Director of Development Services Jessica Scott said her initial evaluation of the building is that it is going to be a complete loss. However a structural engineer will be inspecting the building to confirm.

If the building does need to be demolished Scott said the city will be covering the cost for the demolition as the building owner does not have insurance or the financial means to pay for the demolition itself. She is working on getting demolition estimates and the city commission will hold a special meeting on Wednesday to approve or deny the demolition.

“As of right now we've got a metal fence around the building, and we're going to keep the road shut down for the next few days. On Wednesday the commission will decide whether or not to approve the demolition.”

This is not the first building to recently collapse in downtown Ardmore. In 2014 a pickup truck struck the building on the corner of West Broadway Street and North Washington Street causing the building to partially collapse. In 2016 a building on Main Street collapsed, and last year another building on North Washington Street collapsed.

“Based on the age and condition of the buildings we have downtown, this is one of the reasons that we require a report from a structural engineer before we give people any money from the city for a facade grant or a fire suppression grant,” Scott said. “We require a structural engineer to tell us if it's sound and how to make it sound if it isn't, and we require people to make it sound before they get any city money.”

Scott said this is taken one step further if anyone wants a permit to create any sort of living space downtown.

“If anyone wants to put in any kind of living downtown, we require an architect and an engineer,” Scott said.