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Building under construction collapses in west Billings

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Posted at 8:42 PM, Jun 13, 2023
and last updated 2023-06-14 19:54:55-04

BILLINGS - A construction project crumbled to the ground Monday afternoon near Shiloh Road and Avenue C. No one was injured.

Some people were checking it out while others heard and saw what happened and told MTN News workers that were on this project did get out safely.

The commercial building was approximately 9,000 square feet.

"Once it all hit, that was loud," said Kendall Stokes, Billings Best Summer Camp director, who heard the crash. "It was big and dust and wood just kind of came out."

The sound of materials collapsing also caught the attention of others working nearby.

"I heard it," said Cassidy Wallace, Lone Peak Physical Therapy patient coordinator. "At first, I just thought it was thunder and then I looked up and everything was just coming in."

The next day, construction experts came to survey the damage, as well as neighbors who are curious and concerned.

"I just watched them set up the truss yesterday," said neighbor Fritz Schneider. "Had like 10 guys over here and a crane, setting the truss. Then this morning when I drove by, I don't know what happened."

Check out drone video of the collapse below:

Drone Video: Billings Building Collapse

City building inspectors are now investigating what caused the collapse.

And some have some initial theories on what may have happened.

"It looks like when the trusses were placed on top of the building structure, they possibly weren't properly braced or braced enough and caused them to fall over," said Jessica Fust, City of Billings building official. "And it looks like all of the roof trusses have fallen, which caused some of the wall structure to also be damaged."

Fust says it's likely that very little of the material will be now reusable when construction resumes. Her first concern is to make sure the area is safe.

"We're working on contacting the owner to get a fence put up around the site, just so that we wouldn't have anyone coming in here and possibly getting injured," Fust said.

Those working nearby are thankful and amazed that no one was injured.

"When I went and checked on them, most of them were pretty calm," Stokes said. "I think a few of them were kind of shocked."

"They were off to the side and of course they were devastated," said Wallace.

There's no estimate on the cost of the damage or when crews will restart construction.