A downtown Calgary building where falling bricks prompted officials to evacuate it and nearby addresses on Tuesday afternoon has a compromised facade, the city’s top building inspector says. 


Contractors worked through the night to put up barricade walls of heavy concrete blocks and shipping containers on the north and south sides of the compromised building at 608 Seventh Street S.W. (Kyle Bakx/CBC)

Crews worked through the night to erect heavy barricade walls made of stacked concrete blocks and shipping containers on the north and south sides of the building at 608 Seventh Street S.W. to contain any loose bricks or debris that might come loose from the brick veneer.

Engineers contracted by the city estimated the brick wall is bowing a minimum of 300 millimetres, officials said.

“The city’s investigation at this point has identified that brick veneer on the third and fourth floors is not being laterally supported, and is causing the bowing and an unsafe condition to exist,” said acting chief building official Wayne Brown.

No injuries reported

Emergency crews cordoned off a wide area around the building on Tuesday around noon MT after someone reported seeing about a dozen bricks land on a car. No one was hurt. 

As instructed to do by the city, the building’s owners have hired an engineering firm to further assess the veneer and make recommendations for stabilizing it. A report will be made ready next week.

“As far as we’re aware, there’s no structural damage to the building, it’s just the façade on the outside of it that’s crumbling away and we have concerns that the brick veneer may fall down on the ground,” said Battalion Chief John Cherweniuk.

But nothing has fallen since the incident was first reported, he said.

Sixth Avenue southwest has reopened, but Seventh Street between Sixth and Seventh avenues remains closed.

Tenants of the building, which was constructed in 1958, will not be allowed back in until experts are certain it is safe, the city said.