Official Statement About the Collapse of JPAC Roof
To the citizens of McComb and the many others adversely affected by the collapse of the roof of the JPAC Building in the Historic District of Downtown McComb.
On behalf of the Board of Mayor and Selectmen – first and foremost let me state how blessed we are that there were no injuries. None whatsoever to report and going forward everything will be and has been about safety. We are determined to protect the health, safety and welfare of all citizens.
Sunday evening, after the collapse, the city first responders were immediately on the scene accessing the situation. Debris from the building was scattered across Broadway and Main. Utility lines were down and traffic through the area was at a standstill. Public Safety did an amazing job cordoning off the area from both foot and vehicular traffic. This area remains cordoned off with no access allowed to public, including both foot traffic and vehicular traffic. Anyone that violates this restricted space is subject to fine and/or arrest. Safety is our utmost concern.
The City engaged the services of a structural engineer, Jeff Laird, Laird Smithers, to assist us in assessing the stability of the building and to receive his recommendation for going forward. He was in McComb and in my office ready to work at 8:00 AM, this past Monday morning. He met with our City Administrator- Kelvin Butler, Public Works Director- Chuck Lambert, City Planner- Regina Melson, City Environment Court Judge- Brandon Frazier, representatives from MDOT - Albert White and Dalton Williams, Police Chief – Scott McKenzie, Fire Chief – Gary McKenzie, our Emergency Manager, Richard Coghlan and myself in the Board Room at City Hall to discuss the situation and the next steps. We adjourned the meeting at 9:00 AM and agreed to all meet back in the Board Room at 11:00 AM to hear the structural engineer’s assessment of the building and our best way forward. After we adjourned at 9:00 the City Administrator and I met with the building owner Terrance Alexander and its former owner David Feldman.
We reconvened as planned at 11:00 AM in the Board Room with the addition of Ward 5 Selectman, Ronnie Brock. Our structural engineer reported to us his concern on the stability of the building and the need to address these concerns as soon as possible. It was decided the best path forward was to declare an emergency, name a contractor to perform the work and stabilize the building. At 3:00 PM that afternoon, the Board of Mayor and Selectmen met in a Special Called Meeting and voted unanimously to approve authorizing and declaring that an emergency exists at Broadway and Main that poses a threat to the health and safety of our citizens and to engage Eagle Construction of Flowood, MS, to stabilize the collapsed JPAC Building on the corner of Broadway and Main to ensure the health and safety of our citizens. Eagle Construction is MDEQ Certified in asbestos removal, very competent and well trained.
The cost for the cleaning, demolition and stabilization by Eagle Construction per the guidance of Jeff Laird with Laird and Smithers, Inc. is $186,863 will be paid by the City of McComb, and the city will assess all costs back to the property owner and his insurance. It is anticipated 21 days to completion. All parties are aware of how the city is proceeding as allowed by state law.
Since the collapse of the roof, to protect the health and safety of all citizens’, traffic has been rerouted around the affected area and adjacent buildings of business owners have been temporarily condemned with no access allowed until the all clear has been declared by the structural engineer and city board. We know this is a terrible inconvenience and hardship to all concerned that must be endured. We understand some businesses have to temporarily relocate and this is a real concern to us. But please know the City Board has the right team in place to stabilize this building, with safety in mind first and foremost, and with the goal of returning life to normal as soon as possible in our downtown. We are working to shrink the footprint of temporarily condemned properties and get some businesses owners back in there office. We expect to know more on Monday afternoon. Any building owners needing copies of the condemnation orders can pick them up in Court Services at McComb Police Department, Monday through Friday, 8 until 5. Those business owners affected by temporary condemnation will be allowed access to their properties tomorrow afternoon, Friday, July 28, at 6:00 PM for 30 minutes only. You must first sign in at the Command Post and officers will escort to your property. You must come back by Command Post and sign out on or before 6:30 PM or officers will come looking.
Work is ongoing as we speak. Debris has been removed from the street and we have coordinated with all utilities to reestablish connections to all customers. A temporary pole was set today by ATT to hang utility lines. All utility providers, Entergy, Center Pointe, Cable One and ATT have gone above and beyond to assist the city. We are very thankful for their prompt response. MDOT has also been very helpful.
With the temporary pole set, Eagle Construction will now begin the removal of roof structure and brick removal down to second floor level.
The city will provide updates across the weekend via Facebook and again on Monday. Please check for these updates.
Again, we are extremely blessed there was no loss of life, and we will remain overly cautious to continue that record of no injury. We are moving as fast as possible, but in a safe manner.
Thank you and God Bless.