Calmer weather in store this week

“There was a near catastrophic situation,” Concerns rise after another downtown Cushing building collapses

CUSHING, Okla. - The days are numbered for a nearly century old building in downtown Cushing.

The Lion’s Den was damaged back in November by a 5.0 earthquake, and it recently collapsed.

City officials believe small earthquakes and last week’s high winds contributed to the building’s fall.

The Lion’s Club is taking bids for their old meeting place to be demolished.

"I think we've really got a safety issue here that's got to be addressed in the very immediate future," Attorney William Ahrberg said.

Ahrberg’s office is only a few doors down from the Lion’s Den.

He said it terrifies him to know that just minutes before the building caved, a class of little dancers walked past it.

"There was a near catastrophic situation that I don't think the town would have recovered from," Ahrberg said.

He said it is just a matter of time before another building gives way.

If you take a look downtown, you will see earthquake damaged buildings roped off.

NewsChannel 4 has learned at least one business has been forced to move.

Others are now questioning if they should stay.

"I've been debating on am I going to move? Am I going to repair my building? And I know I got about $50,000 in damage," Ahrberg said.

He said he will have to spend his own money to either fix it, or tear it down.

"I'm like most people down here. We didn't have earthquake insurance," Ahrberg said.

City Manager Stephen Spears said most buildings that have been damaged have been inspected.

"At this point, they're structurally okay for people to be in them," Spears said.

They may be structurally sound, but not necessarily earthquake proof.

“Most of the downtown area`s built early in the 1900s and supposedly either sandstone or brick. Unreinforced masonry construction which really isn`t designed to withstand lateral movement earthquakes cause,” Spears said.

The oil town is now trying to balance what boosts its economy, while keeping its infrastructure from crumbling.

"You know this country put a man on the moon in 1969 and surely there's a way to find an alternative to dealing with this situation," Ahrberg said.

Much of Cushing is dealing with the aftermath of earthquakes.

The city said it is looking at more than a million dollars in damage to its buildings.

City officials said luckily they have earthquake insurance.