May 21, 2014 2:00 pm

UPDATE: 7th Street still closed after bricks fall from downtown building

CALGARY – One block in the city’s downtown core remains closed after bricks fell from the exterior wall of a building on Tuesday.

Emergency crews rushed to 608 7th Street S.W. around 11:30 a.m.

When they arrived, they found the wall of the downtown commercial building appeared to be bowed.

They also discovered bricks which appeared to have fallen off the outside of the six-storey structure.

As a result, surrounding roadways were closed off, and 6th Avenue S.W. saw major traffic backups.

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Three buildings were also partially evacuated, affecting over a dozen businesses as well as about 150 people.

On Tuesday, cranes and trucks were brought in to help create a barrier wall made of concrete and cargo containers, which will limit damage if any more bricks fall.

The Calgary Fire Department says the building is structurally sound, but the wall remains unstable.

“The City’s investigation at this point has identified that brick veneer on the third and fourth floors is not being laterally supported, and is causing the bowing and an unsafe condition to exist.” says Wayne Brown, Acting Chief Building Official.

Engineers contracted by The City estimated that the brick wall bowing is a minimum of 300mm, and remain onsite to continuously monitor the situation.

“We’re taking every precaution at this point to ensure public safety,” added Brown.

The City has instructed the building property owner to immediately retain the services of a professional engineering firm to further assess the condition of the brick veneer and lateral support, and give them some recommendations to stabilize, remediate or remove the unsafe condition.

The building remains closed and barriers have been put up to protect the public from entering the surrounding area. Tenants will not be allowed back in until further inspections have been completed.

Some local businesses in the surrounding area remain evacuated.

7th Street road closure still in place

On Wednesday, the Calgary Fire Department reopened a stretch of 6th Avenue S.W. that had previously been closed.

However, 7th Street S.W. remains closed between 6th Avenue S.W. and 7th Avenue S.W.

A look at where bricks broke out of the wall.

Courtesy of @jerhomme

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