Route 104 Reopened Following Building Collapse

Provided by Oswego City Police Department

OSWEGO, NY – On July 25, at about 4:56 p.m. a vacant church, located on East Fourth Street at State Route 104 in the city of Oswego, partially collapsed.

The steeple at St. Louis Church was unstable following Sunday's collapse of the church's north wall. The steeple and west wall were knocked down for safety reasons late last night.
The steeple at St. Louis Church was unstable following Sunday's collapse of the church's north wall. The steeple and west wall were knocked down for safety reasons late last night.

There were no injuries as a result of the collapse, but for safety concerns and due to the location of the building, it did necessitate the closing and evacuation of the East Park Harborfest venue.

Emergency services responded and began evacuating area residents and businesses.

Work crews determined that the structural integrity of the remaining portions of the building were such that demolition was immediately required.

After clearing the area of bystanders, the Oswego City Fire Department began a water operation at approximately 8:35 p.m. to bring down the steeple which was the largest and most dangerous portion of the building.

At about 8:46 p.m. the water operation was successful in bringing down the unstable portion of the steeple and west wall.

Heavy equipment was utilized to bring down the remaining portions of the building that caused safety concerns.

Traffic was detoured to Utica Street during the demolition.

Crews worked into the night and were able to successfully bring down the remaining portions of the building.

Early this morning (July 26), the debris was cleared from the roadway and State Route 104 was reopened to vehicular traffic.

Responsibility for cleanup and debris removal has been turned over to the property owner.

According to Oswego City Fire Chief Jeff McCrobie; “We feel most fortunate that no one was walking down the sidewalk or driving by at that very moment. A change in time of collapse by the slightest time could have been disastrous.”

The many departments that assisted in the demolition and cleanup should be credited for a job well done, he added.

According to Oswego City Police Chief Michael J. Dehm, Jr., “We were fortunate to have additional resources readily available due to the weekend’s Harborfest events. Everyone worked together to get the job done. We would also like to thank area residents, businessowners, and Harborfest vendors some of whom may have been temporarily displaced for safety reasons, for their cooperation and patience. In all, we had great cooperation from everyone.”

1 Comment

  1. A little bit of history has gone in Oswego. A little bit of my own history, too. My husband and I were married by Father Frederick Cummings in 1983. My husband is Presbyterian, and at that point, I was a lapsed Catholic. Father Cummings married us when no other Catholic priest wanted to do so. We attended for several years after, protestant husband and not so lapsed parishioner, alike, later with family.

    Father Cummings had a golden tongue, and had the only homily in Oswego when Thorn Birds was broadcast during Holy Week, to note that the priest had a sin of pride, not just a sin of the body. I would never have noted this. He thought it was a good time to speak of this, when other priest were upset that this racy romance was broadcast during a sacred time in the Catholic Church’s calendar.

    Father Cummings would have been saddened to see his beloved parish fall, even though it never recovered from his retirement/death. Many people in Oswego have wonderful memories of this beautiful building.

    St. Louis Church was a unique building in both beauty and community. I don’t deny that it’s collapse brought more than one tear to my eyes. I will greatly miss having that building stimulate wonderful memories, whenever I drove by. There will be more than a physical hole in my vision, but also one in my heart.

    Debbie Engelke

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