By Steve Bohnel
BLAIRSVILLE, Pa. — One person was killed and another was injured in a structural collapse at an old school building on South Walnut Street in Blairsville, the borough’s police chief said Wednesday.
Blairsville Police Chief Louis Sacco said two men were working on the roof of the building at around 12:41 p.m. when the roof collapsed and the men fell three stories. One man was taken by helicopter to UPMC Presbyterian, where he later died, Chief Sacco said in a statement. The other man was taken by ambulance to Forbes Hospital in Monroeville.
The chief said that the men were assessing the roof in preparation for demolition when the collapse happened. Borough officials are meeting with a structural engineer to take a look at the overall building, he added.
Blairsville Mayor Ronald Evanko said the building was built in the 1890s and first served as the borough’s high school. It was then an elementary school for Blairsville’s third political ward before being sold at various auctions through the years, he said. Mr. Evanko said the borough has other older buildings that he and other officials will need to inspect.
“We’re an old town, we’re almost 200 years old and some of our buildings are starting to deteriorate,” Mr. Evanko said.
Members of the Blairsville Police Department, Blairsville Volunteer Fire Department, Blackwood Fire Department, Citizens’ Ambulance and a structural team from Indiana County responded to the collapse, Chief Sacco said.