Property owner arrested, 9 displaced by roof collapse in Harrisburg

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The owner of a vacant church building is arrested and nine people are homeless following a roof collapse in Harrisburg.

Harrisburg Fire Chief Brian Enterline says the building on Magnolia between 12th and 13th streets in the city’s hill section had been in deplorable condition for years and snow, ice and today’s rain finally caused the roof to collapse. Enterline said the property owner had been advised multiple times that the building was structurally unsound needed to be demolish.

Augustus Sullivan, the buildings owner, was taken into custody by police Friday night within hours of the roof collapsing.

“This should send a resounding message to the slumlords in Harrisburg, that we will no longer play the game with you. We are going to come after you and we are going to make the city right again,” said Chief Enterline.

The Chief said they got a call at around 6 o’clock that the roof had collapsed onto the second floor of the building. He says the concern now is that the outer walls of the building could collapse. Nine people who lived along 12th Street were evacuated including Migdalia Velez.

“A lot of people here complained about that building. It could collapse onto the street too. How many families? We could die.”

Chief Enterline says a plan to demolish the building should be in place by Monday, in the meantime Magnolia between 12th and 13th Streets will remain closed.