Mother nature flexed her arm Thursday night.
Gravity seems to have officially trumped bureaucracy as a house declared blighted on State Street in North Warren was demolished due to a partial collapse earlier in the afternoon.
Neighbors of 105 S. State St. had been fighting for years to rid the house which had sat idle, rotting in its foundation.
Video of demolition of the remains of the Larson Building on South State Street in North Warren
By Thursday night, they got what they wanted.
"Everytime the wind blew, we had to pick something up from that house," neighbor Valerie Curtis said moments before the house was demolished. Curtis said she and her husband had been fighting for seven years with the township and county authorities to tear down the house due to safety concerns.
Luckily, Curtis and her husband were in Jamestown when the house initially came down.
Photo by Eric Tichy
The rear half of the Larson Building on South State Street in North Warren is seen after it collapsed Thursday afternoon.
"I'm devastated," Curtis added. "It could have collapsed on us and could have done a lot of damage."
Warren County commissioners and Conewango Township supervisors were immediately called as well members of the Blighted Committee which had been overseeing the house and plans to bring it down.
Neighbors who were home at the time of the collapse say they never experienced anything like it before.
"It sounded like a tornado had just hit next door," neighbor Chris Barirde said. " I was sitting on my couch when I felt the whole ground shake."
Barirde said she looked out her window to see a portion of the house collapse into itself, causing minor damage to the adjacent home.
"Thankfully no one was hurt or inside either house when it came down," she said.
North Warren firemen were notified of the collapse around 6:45 p.m. and quickly taped off the area. The house continued to shake, causing onlookers to back off and firemen to seek safety.
According to North Warren Fire Chief Tim Reynolds, the house was ordered to be destroyed due to the hazardous conditions it caused with the collapse.
"As it stands, the house is a public safety hazard," Reynolds said after arriving on scene. "With powerlines in front and poles all around, we had to make the decision to knock it down."
And that's exactly what they did.
A wrecker from Marfink Excavating was called in to knock the remaining portion of the house down. Residents and curious onlookers gathered as word spread that the house would be leveled.
The wrecker showed up about an hour later to a few cheers from the gallery. Within ten minutes, the house was completely leveled - prompting a roar of approval from relived neighbors.
According to Conewango Supervisor Chuck Barone, who arrived just moments before the house was destroyed, the Warren County Redevelopment Authority had received the deed to the house just days prior to Thursdays collapse. He said remaining portions of the house will be removed before further action would be taken.