Iola Westco severely damaged

The Iola Westco was severely damaged early Saturday morning. Most of the building has collapsed.

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September 7, 2021 - 5:49 AM

The Iola Westco was severely damaged early Saturday morning. Photo by Vickie Moss / Iola Register

Iola’s Westco appears to be a casualty of a storm that dumped about 8 inches of rain throughout Saturday.

The roof of the building at 704 N. State St. collapsed and affected two neighboring businesses. Westco is one of several in a strip mall there. 

The Rent-A-Center business, to the south side, suffered a blown window and Subway to the north, were closed Saturday and remain so today.

Brek Ulrich, a Westco salesman, said this morning that management would likely be looking for a new location.

Gregg Hutton, Iola code enforcement officer, said he and Corey Schinstock, assistant city manager, examined the building to determine if the surrounding business were safe to open.

The roof over the Iola Westco store collapsed early Saturday morning during a massive rain storm. Photo by Vickie Moss / Iola Register

Other businesses in the strip include Dollar Tree and O’Reilly Auto Parts. The O’Reilly building is an addition and not part of the original structure.

A structural engineer will examine the building today, Hutton said. 

“The damage is significant. They’re going to have to tear at least half of it down,” Hutton said. “We believe if they go far enough to the north and south, they could rebuild. Or they could just cut that part of the building out. It depends on what the structural engineer says and what they want to do.”

Hutton said he didn’t want to speculate what may have caused the building to collapse, but said he believed excessive amounts of rain likely contributed. 

Emergency crews responded to a report of broken windows a little after midnight and discovered the damage. 

The storm dumped about 8 inches of rain on Iola, starting late Friday night and continuing into Saturday. 

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