Historic buildings collapse, forcing Bonham businesses to close

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BONHAM, TX -- Two historic buildings in Bonham collapsed over night, causing some business closures and the relocation of an annual city festival. Morgan Downing brings us more from Bonham.

The north side of Bonham's downtown square is completely empty. The building collapse has closed five businesses and so far engineers believe it's the wind that caused this.

Caution tape ropes off the entire block of East Fifth Street in downtown Bonham. Structural engineers walked from building to building Friday, surveying the damage.

"Our concern is to get those down without, with doing the minimal amount of damage to any other buildings. But, only getting the things down immediately that we need to get down to to make it safe," city manager Bill Shipp said.

Two buildings collapsed. One was vacant, the other was occupied by Razor's Edge Barber Shop. Barber Johni Warren says he first moved into this building about ten years ago, then five years ago moved right next door.

"So, either way the building fell in, it would've got me either way," Warren said.

High winds continued to knock down pieces of the wall Friday afternoon, worrying residents.

"I have wondered, and wondered, and wondered what is wrong. You know, why aren't they making sure that these buildings are safe?" resident Rena Hale said.

City manager Bill Shipp says right now, the city only inspects buildings when new tenants move in. But after this collapse, they may re-evaluate the process.

"Well, we're going to look at our procedures because some of these buildings have been unoccupied for some period of time. And if you have a building that's unoccupied that's a possible hazard, that needs to be looked at," he said. "So, we're going to look at our procedures and look at doing inspections on some of these buildings that have not been occupied for something."

Warren says he's just glad no one was hurt.

"I'll put another shop together rather quickly, but some of the memorabilia and things is gone forever. Don't cry over spilt milk. I almost did last night, but I didn't. And so, we'll trudge along," he said.

Bonham's annual Heritage Day celebration was set to kick off Saturday morning in downtown. It still starts at 8 a.m., but it will be at the corner of Highway 121 and 56 at the Trade Day's location.

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