UPDATE: Johnson City officials said Sunday afternoon that there is no sign of any ‘structural deficiency’, but an investigation is still underway. Officials add that while Cafe Lola remains closed, neighboring businesses were allowed to reopen at 12:30 p.m. on Sunday
JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (WJHL) — Three North Roan Street businesses are temporarily closed following an incident within the shared building at Roan Centre, according to the Johnson City Fire Department (JCFD).
Johnson City Assistant Fire Chief Jason Powell told News Channel 11 they got a call about a possible gas leak on Saturday afternoon, however, no hazmat situation has been found. Powell said crews did not find any evidence of a gas leak or hazmat situation at the N. Roan Street building. Powell said no gas explosion or leak took place.
He told News Channel 11 that they did find shifted flooring in the kitchen of a restaurant, and are investigating the cause.
A statement from Johnson City officials states:
“Johnson City Chief Building Official Jeff Cannon was called to the scene to inspect the structure. Following the inspection, Cannon ordered the closure of Café Lola while the property owner mobilizes contractors to investigate the cause of the floor shifting.”
Johnson City Assistant Fire Chief Ed Haynes said their preliminary belief is that the flooring shifted due to a void underground. Haynes said that the void could be a result of runoff from recent rain or a sinkhole forming, however, an exact cause has not yet been determined.
Haynes told News Channel 11 that the ground and flooring are now static and not moving.
Haynes said surrounding businesses will likely remain closed for the rest of the day Saturday, which include Cafe Lola, Bayou Boys Fresh Gulf Shrimp and LA Nails. Other businesses within Roan Centre are not closed as of 3 p.m. on Saturday, according to Haynes.
JCFD’s District Chief Ian Keys said everyone is safe, and numerous departments have been called out to help determine what has happened.
“We were led in the kitchen for an event,” said Keys. “There is no gas leak. We’re still trying to assess what exactly happened. We have our city building department out. We have our fire prevention office and we also have our environmentalist out just trying to assess the situation and figure out exactly what we have.”
Asst. Chief Haynes said the event remains under investigation and crews are excavating the area where the flooring shifted to determine the cause.
This is a developing story and updates will be provided as they become available.