Former South Bend church collapses, potentially due to weekend storms

NOW: Former South Bend church collapses, potentially due to weekend storms

SOUTH BEND, Ind. -- A former church at the intersection of Miami Street and East Indiana Avenue collapsed Sunday, leaving only the front of the building still standing.

It was formerly Lighthouse Prayer Tower Fellowship, but residents say it’s been vacant for at least one year.

“I was just sitting in my apartment, minding my business then next thing I know I hear the fire department coming in,” said South Bend resident Kenneth Duncan.

The South Bend Fire Department was called just after 1:45 p.m. and said the building’s collapse could potentially be a result of Saturday’s storms. 

“It’s been abandoned for over a year, so a combination of the storms and wind over the weekend, neglect,” said Duncan.

Thankfully, no one was inside when it collapsed and no neighbors were hurt, but fragments did fall onto two homes and it left the entire street without power. 

“When the rain and wind started yesterday, we could actually see the seam that goes down the middle of the roof raising up and you could see the space in between it, and now I guess enough water got into it that it started drying and separated and finally collapsed,” said South Bend resident Thomas Tyks.

Tyks said people have even complained to the city about the building before. 

“I went to a hearing with code enforcement about three years ago and they had a stack of violations and the woman who owned the building was told she had a year to get it up to code or it’d be torn down, but nothing has been done with the property since,” said Tyks.

ABC57 did reach out to District 3 Councilwoman Sharon McBride for a record of that code enforcement hearing but has not yet heard back.

The South Bend Fire Department said AEP is taking care of restoring power, but won’t have much luck until a separate crew is able to come demolish the building – neither they expected to be completed Sunday.

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