- Associated Press - Friday, July 25, 2014

KINGMAN, Kan. (AP) - Engineers have been working to determine why an old, vacant building partially collapsed in downtown Kingman, which has had problems with at least one other aging structure.

No injuries were reported when a south wall and part of a west wall of the more than 100-year-old two-story building collapsed Thursday, said City Manager Emily Graf. No surroundings buildings were damaged, but the block has been closed off.

“Right now our number one priority is safety of our citizens,” Graf said.

The building had not been occupied since it was evacuated last week after failing an inspection by an engineer at the request of the property owner. The building had been occupied by oil field workers before the inspection.

City officials told The Hutchinson News (https://bit.ly/Us2MPJ ) they were not surprised to learn of the collapse. Last year a building a block north had a roof cave in and remains barricaded off.

“We’ve got a real problem here,” said Charlus Bishop, a city councilor. “Obviously this is a serious issue and we’ll have to discuss our game plan and what our options are as we move forward.”

Tom Archer, Kingman city zoning administrator, said he did not believe seismic activity played a part in the collapse, but wouldn’t rule it out.

Bishop said the town, which has about 3,000 residents and is about 45 miles west of Wichita, will need to develop a plan of action to prevent future collapses. Discussion began on the issue at Thursday night’s council meeting.

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