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UPDATE: Owner of abandoned church that started to collapse arrested

Updated: Friday, February 21 2014, 09:39 PM CST
Reported by Ewa Roman:

HARRISBURG -- In the middle of a roof collapse investigation Friday night at the corner of 12th and Magnolia Streets in Harrisburg, our cameras caught Harrisburg Police arresting the owner of the building, Augustus Sullivan of Harrisburg.

We discovered that he had been ordered several times in the past to take care of that property.

"I think this should send a resounding message to the slumlords in the City of Harrisburg that we will no longer play the game with you, we are going to come after you and we are going to make the city right again," said Harrisburg Fire Chief Brian Enterline.

The roof collapsed around 6 Friday night, parts of it falling on homes next door.  One of them belongs to Hector Alvorado. His family member Gerardo translated for us.

"Back in the summer we were here and the one side had fallen and we were here when that fell, he's trying to work on his house and get it rebuilt and he doesn't want it to fall on his house you know?" stated Gerardo.

Fire fighters say no one was hurt, but five adults and four children were forced out of their homes at the 1300 block of South 12th Street.

The American Red Cross is helping them. It's unclear when they'll be able to return home.

The City of Harrisburg doesn't have the capability to demolish this type of three story building. Monday officials will meet to discuss how they plan to tackle demolition.
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Emergency crews are responding to a report of a roof collapse at a church at 12th and Magnolia Streets in Harrisburg.

Pieces of the abandoned church are falling on nearby homes, forcing those people from their homes.  At least six people are evacuated at this time.

Firefighters add that the walls are expanding and they are afraid the entire structure may collapse.

Dispatchers tell us the church is abandoned and may have to be destroyed.

Ewa Roman is on scene and will continue to provide the latest information as soon as she gets it.  UPDATE: Owner of abandoned church that started to collapse arrested


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