CHARLEVOIX — A piece of the 101-year-old Masonic
Building in downtown Charlevoix at the corner of Bridge Street and Mason Street fell off and crashed to the sidewalk at around 6:45 a.m. today, Thursday.
The rubble still sits near the front entrance of Subway on Bridge Street and an area of the sidewalk is taped off. Bridge Street in downtown Charlevoix was briefly closed to traffic as well.
“Thankfully no one was hurt,” said Charlevoix Fire Chief Paul Ivan. “I think it was probably the mortar” around the bricks that was no longer working correctly and allowed them to fall off of the building, he explained.
The fire department will contact the owners of the building, the Charlevoix Masonic Building Association, and let the group make the decision on how to move forward with the repairs, how to remove the bricks from the sidewalk and to call in a professional to evaluate the building, Ivan said.
The sidewalk will continue to be blocked off, he added, until the Masonic association has a professional in to evaluate the building.
Walter Hufford is secretary of the Masonic Building Association.
It was originally constructed in 1912, he said of the historic building which houses small businesses on the ground level.
“We’ve been doing a lot on it in the last three, four years, here and there and everywhere trying to get it fixed up. I didn’t realize there was any problem with the brick,” he explained. “I’ll have to find somebody to fix it.”
Subway is still open for business today, but customers will have to use the Mason Street entrance, said supervisor of the restaurant Netty Allbritton.
She was at work and was starting to get food ready for the day when she heard a loud crash.
“I looked out the window and saw a cloud of smoke,” she said.
She said she wasn’t sure what it was at first, but then realized a piece of the building had fallen off and called 9-1-1.
“It was pretty scary,” she said.
She mentioned a few things she has noticed about the building that may have signalled it needs work. A tree has been growing in-between a few of the bricks up high on one side of the building since she started working at Subway six years ago.
Ivan agrees that the tree may be one sign that the building is not in the best of health.
“It’s a tree that’s been there for a while. It doesn’t bode well for the building,” he said.
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This story has been corrected.