January 8, 2009

Calamity on Garrison Main Street

Calamity on Garrison Main Street

Business heavily damaged


Talk about being in the right place at the right time – almost!

Had Don Kerzmann remained parked across the street on the morning of Jan. 1, he might have witnessed an enormous clatter as wood, bricks and mortar plunged to the sidewalk in front of BHG, Inc. Instead, he left briefly to fill gas at Cenex of Garrison. When he returned, he noticed something was wrong, terribly wrong.

During his absence, and apparently without witness, a snow-covered wood awning in front of the Garrison business had given way, taking a 75-foot span of brick wall with it.

Shortly after 9 a.m., Kerzmann returned to Main Street. In his 20-minute absence, the street had changed forever. The upper level brick facade of the building that houses BHG, Inc, Viking Screen Prints and Ash Clayben lay in a heap on the sidewalk. The interior of the building’s uppermost level was left exposed, vulnerable to snow, wind and sub-zero temperatures.

Kerzmann returned to Cenex where he told McLean County Chief Deputy Terry Mehlhoff about the failed structure. According to Kerzmann, when he reported the damage, Mehlhoff’s initial reaction was that the report was a joke.

It wasn’t.

Deputy Mehlhoff arrived at the site and used his patrol car to block access from the north. He also placed a call to the home of Mike and Jill Gackle, owners of the building, a former department store.

"Happy New Year – well, maybe not," was Mehlhoff’s greeting when the call was answered. He proceeded to inform Mike about the damage.

The Weather Network