MOUNT AIRY, N.C. (WGHP) — One of the oldest buildings in Mount Airy partially collapsed early Tuesday.

City officials were waiting Tuesday on engineers to determine the structural integrity of what remained of the Main Oak Emporium building in the heart of downtown. They also hoped to determine how the collapse happened and whether the building can be saved.

Police said a patrol officer noticed bricks falling from the building about 5 a.m. Another witness said the side of the building collapsed about 45 minutes later. No one was inside, and no injuries were reported.

Some people said they were grateful it happened overnight and not during the city’s

Police say one of their patrol officers spotted bricks falling from the building around 5 this morning. Another witness says the side of the building collapsed at around 5-45.

A lot of people are at least relieved that it happened overnight and not during the city’s Fourth of July parade on Monday.

“There would’ve been hundreds of people just in that small area near the winery on the other side of the Emporium, between the two sides of the street,” Sue Heckman said. “As tragic as this is, it would’ve been incredibly tragic.” 

Between 15 and 20 shops were closed Tuesday amid the ongoing cleanup effort. It’s unclear how long they will remain closed. 

The owner of a pet hotel located across the street from the building said its animals were moved to the back of their business to keep them safe.

The Mt Airy News reported in October that a Durham-based company had bought the building and planned to renovate them to become AirBNBs.