- Written by Melissa Stern - Fox 4 News
KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Crews were working all day Friday trying to stabilize what’s left of the Rios De Agua Viva church after part of it collapsed Thursday morning.
Although workers are still assessing the damage to decide whether it needs to be torn down or not, the pastor says services will go on.
The initial shock of the church collapsing with children and staff inside has begun to wear off, but decisions about what to do with the building have just begun.
“Everybody is fine, thank God,” said Herminio Leal, the pastor of the church.
He says the most important thing is that no one was injured. But thinking about his church collapsing is still heartbreaking.
“It’s not easy, it’s not easy, it’s painful,” Leal said.
Crews worked all day Friday to stabilize what’s left of the church.
“The owner of this building, they have the insurance company and all of their crew out. They have structural engineers out, so everyone is really just assessing the building, they’re stabilizing that north wall, that’s the main concern right now,” said Dalena Taylor, the dangerous building’s manager.
She says it’s still undecided whether the church can be salvaged, because the structural engineer has not yet completed the assessment.
“With the compromising portion of the building already, if it’s not stabilized, then of course, it will have to be torn down,” Taylor added.
She says they believe the weather caused it to collapse.
“The rain and an extreme amount of water got in on the mortar,” she said.
Engineers and contractors are working around the clock trying to make sure it’s safe for the surrounding area.
“We took down a little bit in the back that was unstable, to make sure no more of the debris would fall, and right now, we’re doing a little additional shoring to make sure the walls are secure and nothing falls on any bystanders or another building,” said Christopher Perez, who is with the contracting company assessing the church.
Pastor Leal says Friday was the last day of the vacation bible school at the church, so no alternative plans are necessary. On the other hand, Leal says church services will go on.
“I’ll take this opportunity to invite all the people, there’s going to be a thanks service, to thank God for all of the things he has done for us, for his protection, and the miracle he did for our children,” Leal said. “We invite the community, and the police department, the fire department who did a great, great job. We know something, this happens because god is going to take us to another place, with another blessing, a big blessing, and we’re expecting just to go forward.”
Pastor Leal says this Sunday the congregation will have a service at a church that is currently vacant. The address is 4000 Victory Drive in Kansas City, Kansas. He invites anyone in the community who wants to participate in what he’s calling a “thank you” service.