As two women were driving down Long Avenue on Monday morning, the building that housed the former Jagielly Club crumbled in front of them.

They missed driving under it by seconds, and New Castle Fire Chief Mike Kobbe reported the two women, who were not identified, stopped and called 911, reporting the collapse around 9:25 a.m. at 107-109 W. Long Ave. No injuries were reported.

“All it took was one strong gust of wind,” Kobbe said, adding he did not know what actually caused the top section of the building to cave in. Bricks and rubble were strewn along Long Avenue, electrical wires fell and emergency workers put up tape and horses to keep people and traffic out of the area.

In addition the fire department, New Castle police, code enforcement and public works departments responded.

Emergency responders at the scene said the building had been sold late last week.

The property had changed hands three times within the past month, according to information from the county offices of the assessor and recorder of deeds.

Lawrence County assessment office records show Reighert LLC bought the building in February 2019 from the county repository.

Reighert sold it on April 7 to G.T. Developers for $4,000, and G.T. in turn sold it to Michael Henry and Tyler Coe of 1064 Beckford St., Side B, on April 14 for $1,000.

Henry and Coe on May 6 conveyed the property for $10 to Jeremy Pace of Pittsburgh as trustee for “1984 Is Just Cheers FanFaction Trust,” according to the deed recorded in the office of the Lawrence County Recorder of Deeds.

Shawn Anderson, city code enforcement director, said an Act 121 or “buyer beware” inspection had been scheduled for Friday for the building — the same day the building was conveyed to a trust — but the owner canceled the inspection.

After the collapse Monday, the city cleaned up the street and took measures that afternoon to demolish the top half of the building as an emergency demolition, Anderson said, noting that city police, fire and city council officials deemed it as a fire and safety hazard and a dangerous building.

The city will lien the property owner for that cost, he said, and the owner also will be cited for a dangerous building and will be held responsible for the removal of the rest of the building.

The city’s engineers, RAR Engineering, recommended — and the city hired — a demolition company to tear down the top portion of the building, because that firm was working nearby and agreed to do the work as an emergency, Anderson said.

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Debbie's been a journalist at the New Castle News since 1978, and covers county government, police and fire, New Castle schools, environment and various other realms. She also writes features, takes photos and video and copy edits.

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