March 30, 2016 Edition

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Winds lead to precautions
around collapsing building

Strong winds on March 22 hit collapsing property at Abbey and West Elm, causing the back wall of the structure to sway and several bricks to break free.

Walnut Ridge Fire Chief Frank Owens arranged to have more barricades set up around the building, which is part of a larger structure that houses two in operation businesses, Mullen Abstract and Steele Law Firm.

Walnut Ridge Mayor Charles Snapp said the issue is that there is currently no retaining wall built between the different sections of the building.

"If one building comes down, in all likelihood, the building next to it will come with it," Snapp said.

While the city is providing the barricades in attempts to protect citizens from falling debris, the matter remains a civil one between the owners of the properties.

Snapp said that he has been approached by JR Rogers, owner of the collapsing property, about ways to reinforce the building. No plans have been put into motion and any modifications will have to be cleared through the city.

Other minor wind damage was found in Walnut Ridge and Hoxie, including broken limbs, stripped shingles and road signs blown over.

The wind also kicked up a large amount of dust in Portia on March 22 making driving conditions hazardous and resulting, though no injuries were reported.

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