No one was injured and no vehicles were damaged after a portion of a building unexpectedly collapsed just after 9:30 a.m. Sept. 7, 2010, in Cambridge, Maryland. It was the former Rob Roy shirt factory, situated along busy Academy Street not far from where it intersects with Cedar Street, another main thoroughfare in Cambridge.
The sudden collapse sent bricks across to the other side of Academy, blocking traffic in both directions.
“A school bus had just gone by before the building collapsed. Luckily the light was green,” said Francis Gilbert, who lives near the building.
“I went down there to direct traffic,” he said.
The building was undergoing demolition at the time of the collapse, and Gilbert said things were going fine for awhile. However, the front of the building collapsed after part of a wall running the length of the building was removed.
The emergency dispatch center for Dorchester County sent out an alert about the collapse around 9:35 a.m. and a paramedic unit was on the scene within a few minutes.
I was on the phone at the time of the collapse with a friend who lives near the building and heard shouting in the background. After hanging up, I grabbed my camera and drove to the location.
Upon my arrival, I saw two ambulances at the corner of Cedar and Academy. However, I was relieved to discover, after talking with a number of bystanders, that no one was hurt. Going behind the houses that line Cedar Street, I saw the building was completely demolished, except for a portion of its north wall, which remained standing.
Cambridge City police were on hand directing traffic around the disaster. What makes it even more amazing that there were no injuries or vehicle damage is the fact Academy Street has been busier, since it is currently being used by many locals as part of a detour while the Maryland Avenue bridge, which spans Cambridge Creek, is being repaired. Many take Cedar off of US 50 to reach downtown Cambridge.
The building dated back to at least the early 1920s as a factory for Rob Roy shirts. Allen Boorstein sold the business in 1979. The factory continued for awhile, but then closed in the 1980s.
Tough economic times made repair and upkeep of the unused building very difficult in recent years. A portion of the roof on its west side collapsed a year ago and, after inspection, city authorities condemned the structure. Neighbors state the building was being demolished by a private contractor.
I was made aware of the planned demolition a few weeks ago and took a number of pictures prior to its destruction. You may view those at http://www.associatedcontent.com/slideshow/60828/the_old_rob_roy_shirt_factory_of_cambridge.html .
A message from Dorchester County dispatch monitored here stated that Academy Street was open to traffic at 11:16 a.m..