MOUNT AIRY, N.C. (WGHP) — One of the oldest buildings in Mount Airy partially collapsed early Tuesday.

Firefighters got the call early in the morning that the Main Oak Emporium, in the heart of downtown Mount Airy, had collapsed.

Mount Airy police are waiting on engineers to come in and look at how structurally sound the building is, which could give them more details on how this collapse happened and if the building can be saved.

The concern for a lot of people is if the side facing the street will also fall.

Police say one of their patrol officers spotted bricks falling from the building around 5 this morning. Another witness says the side of the building collapsed at around 5-45.

A lot of people are at least relieved that it happened overnight and not during yesterday’s Fourth of July parade.

“11 o’clock yesterday morning, there would’ve been hundreds of people just in that small area near the winery on the other side of the Emporium, between the two sides of the street. As tragic as this is, it would’ve been incredibly tragic,” Sue Heckman said. 

15 to 20 shops are closed due to this ongoing cleanup effort. We don’t know for how long they’ll have to keep their doors closed. 

A pet hotel owner right across the street from the building said they moved all of their animals to the back of their business where they can be safe, just in case the worst were to happen.

In October of 2021, the Mt Airy News reported that a Durham based company had bought the building and planned to renovate them to become AirBNBs.