Demolition begins for two downtown Bonham buildings

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BONHAM, TX -- The demolition process is now underway. City officials say their goal is to have the rubble cleared by the end of this week.

The collapse forced the Dollar General, the Chamber of Commerce and a barber shop to close. Getting those businesses back open is the city's main concern.

The owners of the two buildings that collapsed are fronting the bill for demolition, but the City of Bonham is facilitating the project in order to get both the Dollar General and Chamber of Commerce back open.

City Manager Bill Shipp says the demolition cost is expected to be between $50,000 and $70,000. Workers found asbestos so that's raised the price. Crews are keeping the buildings damp to keep the dust from blowing around and harming the air quality.

A demo crew from the Dallas area spent today knocking out bricks one by one. Shipp says it's tedious, but it's the safest way to tear down.

"In order to avoid damage to the surrounding buildings, it's really one brick at a time oftentimes. And they're continuing to do that handwork now. Fortunately, when they get it down to a certain level they'll be able to get some equipment in there to make it go faster," Shipp said.

Shipp says if things go as planned, employees will be allowed to access the Dollar Store on Saturday. But the Chamber of Commerce building will remain closed due to safety concerns on that side of the collapse. That barber shop occupied one of the destroyed buildings and will have to re-locate.

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