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      Crews demolish remnants of collapsed Oswego church

      Collapsed former Oswego church

      Update at 3:00pm:

      The former St. Louis Church is owned by the Syracuse Diocese. Diocese spokesperson Danielle Cummings says it TMs working on a timetable to clean up the debris right now. She says the church conducts regular inspections of all of its building, and while the Diocese was aware there was some interior and exterior damage at the St. Louis church, there were no reports of any structural damage. She says inspectors were in there just last week. Cummings says she doesn TMt know how much the cleanup will cost, yet. The Diocese is self-insured.

      Update at 8:10am:

      What remained of a vacant church that collapsed was demolished in Oswego Sunday night. Crews started bringing down the steeple and west wall of the former St. Louis Church around 8:30pm.

      The trouble started just before 5pm Sunday at the old church on East 4th Street at State Route 104 when the vacant building partially collapsed. No one was hurt, but due to safety concerns, the area was evacuated.

      Then, late Sunday night, crews brought in heavy equipment to bring down the remaining portions of the building. Early Monday morning, the debris was cleared from the roadway and State Route 104 was re-opened to traffic.

      Responsibility for the clean-up and debris removal was then turned over to the property owner. "We feel most fortunate that no one was walking down the sidewalk or driving by at that very moment," said Oswego City Fire Chief Jeff McCrobie. "A change in time of collapse by the slightest time could have been disastrous."


      Harborfest came to a dramatic end Sunday night, after a vacant church collapsed just after 5 p.m. on the corner of East Bridge Street and 4th Street in Oswego.

      George Rodriquez says it sounded like a big boom. "I was home and I heard it collapsed and I came down here, he said. That loud bang, was the sound of St. Louis Church crumbling down.

      Hundreds of people were in town for Harborfest this past weekend, so many of those visitors were right across the street wrapping up the festival at East Park, when the building fell down.

      Oswego Police say a few cars were damaged by falling debris, but luckily no injuries were reported.

      The building has been vacant for the past few years and no one was inside at the time.

      But former members of this parish say when the church collapsed, it brought memories down with it. "This church means a lot of to me because my family was born and married in this church. And I used to be a member of this church and for me it's pretty emotional to see this building in the shape it's in, said Greg Monette.

      Monette says the church was built in the 1800's. He, and other former members, were among the onlookers lining the streets to get a glimpse of the damage. Large beams were torn down, stained glass windows were broken, and debris poked through.

      I immediately thought of the fact that I bike or walk right on that sidewalk, right by that wall, every morning, said Phil MacArthur.

      Police evacuated area homes, and East Park, where Harborfest was coming to a close, because officers were unsure if the building was stable.

      I'm just in a state of shock to see this beautiful church the way it is. It's just a sad day in Oswego especially for the people who used to go to this church, said Monette.

      Police are asking drivers to avoid East Bridge Street, or Route 104. This is going to be closed for an extended period of time, we TMre talking probably a matter of days as opposed to hours, said Oswego Police Captain Tony DeCaire. We don TMt want anybody in the area in case anything else does happen to fall, but also there TMs going to be a large undertaking as far as clean up goes.

      Oswego Police were assisted a number of agencies, including the Oswego Fire Department, Oswego County Sheriff TMs Office, New York State Police, and Border Patrol. DeCaire says many of the first responders were close by, because they were already in town helping to patrol for Harborfest.