Falling bricks prompt work to secure downtown Calgary building

Part of a building that bricks fell off of Tuesday, effectively shutting parts of downtown, will be taken down overnight, say Calgary police.

Emergency crews working to secure area, open Sixth Avenue to traffic by 6 a.m., fire department says

Emergency crews remain at the scene of a downtown Calgary building after bricks fell off the exterior, hitting a car below. 3:09

Emergency crews are working to secure part of a downtown building that bricks fell off of Tuesday, effectively shutting parts of downtown, according to the Calgary fire department. 

Crews have been at the scene after bricks fell off the exterior, hitting a car below. The building at 608 Seventh Street S.W. was evacuated around noon MT Tuesday. 

Crews work to secure a brick facade on the Genco building downtown. (CBC)

Work is now being done to build a containment wall in case the facade crumbles or collapses, according to the Calgary Fire Department. 

The fire department is working to secure the area with the aim of opening Sixth Avenue to traffic by 6 a.m.

Some downtown roads will likely be closed for the Wednesday morning commute, fire department spokesperson Carole Henke said earlier Tuesday evening.

"Right now, we anticipate that Sixth Avenue between Sixth Street and Seventh Street will remain closed, at least until tomorrow morning. So, we really want commuters to choose an alternate route if you do use Sixth Avenue. Anticipate that it will be closed," said Henke. 

Police had earlier told CBC News on Tuesday night that the brick facade would be dismantled sometime overnight. Calgary police later corrected that information. 

Bricks landed on car

Art Boudreau told CBC News that he called 911 after seeing about a dozen bricks land on a car. No one was hurt. 

Carolyn Kim, who owns the café on the bottom floor of the building, said she was told to get out immediately. Officials also evacuated two nearby buildings, bringing the total number of people forced out to roughly 150. 

Carolyn Kim, the owner of a café in the evacuated building, waits for news. (Amanda Connolly/CBC)

"There is visible evidence of bricks that have fallen from the outside of the building, and the east wall of the building shows some bulging," fire officials said in a release.

Inspectors have been trying to figure out what happened and say there is no visible damage inside the structure. The concern now is whether the building is structurally sound. Structural engineers from the city are trying to determine what needs to be done next.

At least 15 fire trucks were around the building on Tuesday afternoon. The intersection has been closed and officials are rerouting traffic and buses. The Plus 15 pedestrian walkway is also closed at that intersection.