“It’s a sad piece of history that’s just gone now,” Cushing residents blame earthquakes for collapsing building

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Part of a historic building suddenly collapsed in downtown Cushing Tuesday night.

The town has been rattled by numerous earthquakes this year, one as large as a 4.3.

Many residents are blaming earthquakes for the nearly 100-year-old building’s fall.

Wednesday, dozens of people from the small town of 8,000 stopped to take pictures of the building that was once full of life.

“There was hotels up in there," Dan Sims said. "I used to have a friend that lived up above there."

“That building has been so many things," John Clark said. "It was a grocery store. Of course, Boy Howdy store this last go around, and it’s a part of our history."

“It’s sad," Teresa Hall said. "It’s a sad piece of history that’s just gone now."

Several residents witnessed part of the building tumble down.

“Just a little bit of it fell," Clark said. "When I got here, it all was starting to fall in. It was quite exciting for a little bit."

The city has since knocked down more of the building built in 1922 to reduce the hazard.

It is now quite a sight to see and has a lot of people guessing what happened.

“Basically, all the earthquakes has just weakened a lot of this,” Hall said, as she pointed toward the building.

“I think a lot of it was water that sat up on the roof but, when the mortar and the rocks was shaken, it certainly caused it to fall,” Clark said.

The city’s manager believes the quakes may have something to do with the building’s collapse, but he equally blames its poor condition.

“If I stand on one leg, and someone pushes me, I’m probably going to fall down - that being the earthquake," said Stephen Spears, Cushing’s City Manager. "If I’m standing here on two strong legs, and someone pushes me, I might sway a little bit, but I’m not falling down, and that’s what I kind of really think happened."

Others think this is just the beginning of a domino effect when it comes to those startling shakes.

“In our little town and community, you kind of want to feel safe but, sometimes, it’s just not always safe,” Clark said.

The road next to the building is closed off, and the city manager told us it probably will be for a couple of days.

He said the building will most likely be torn down. No word on when that will happen.

The on-going earthquakes have influenced major decisions from the Oklahoma Corporation Commission.

The commission recently voted to delay a decision on whether or not to approve proposed disposal wells in Payne, Logan and Pawnee counties.

The commission also shut down two injection wells in Cushing and forced three others to reduce their volume.

Cushing is known as the pipeline crossroads of the world. The town houses nearly 50 million barrels of oil.

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