Harrisburg wall collapse causing further problems for tire store

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HARRISBURG, Pa. -- The collapse of a wall adjacent to the Mulberry Street Bridge in Harrisburg is causing further headache to a small business owner. Tons of debris landed on Howard Tire and Auto after the collapse back in the beginning of May.

Howard Henry, the owner of Howard Tire and Auto on Cameron Street, was told by an attorney representing Neshaminy Constructors that he needed to evacuate the store immediately. But a city codes administration told him the building is not in further danger of collapsing.

Andrew Conolly, the attorney for Post and Schell, showed up to the tire store. Neshaminy is the PennDOT contractor that worked on the wall to remove an overhang last year. Conolly told the store owner that the building could collapse further if the debris was not removed.

Henry said, "It's interesting how they're so concerned with additional collapses now when I was saying all along about the possibility of collapsing they never took any steps."

He noticed a crack in the wall months ago and warned PennDOT. He said in October Neshaminy Contractors also told PennDOT the wall was an area of concern.

"They knew of the potential danger of that wall falling. They understood exactly that it could fall, and they presented those pictures to PennDOT," he said.

Harrisburg City Codes Administrator Art Emerick, wrote a letter saying the store should not take any action to repair the damage. Henry said Emerick explained if he tried to fix the wall, heavy debris could end up falling on top of him.

The store owner thinks the building is not in danger of further collapse and his business is open. But this has put his small business through an ordeal.

"For us it's about the preservation of our own lives and our own livelihoods. And for us to close a store that doesn't need to be closed and evacuate when we don't need to evacuate costs us a great deal."

He doesn't understand how Neshaminy didn't say anything to him when they originally noticed the problem in October.

"If Neshaminy is so concerned and has the solution, why don't they come and offer pro bono their services and clean up the mess they created?" he asked.

We reached out to Andrew Connolly, but he was unavailable for comment. PennDOT said it does not wish to comment until they're finished conducting the investigation of the wall collapse.