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Olde Town East building deemed safe after chimney collapsed during wind event Saturday

Tenants and business owners were evacuated Saturday but were allowed to return Monday evening when the city engineer determined the structure was safe.

COLUMBUS, Ohio — Early Monday evening a building that was evacuated since Saturday night due to a chimney collapse was deemed safe and was allowed to re-open.

According to Deputy Director of Building and Zoning, Tony Celebrezze, the building in the Olde Town East neighborhood was inspected Monday and it was determined to be structurally safe.

An investigation was underway to see if the age of the building combined with strong winds caused the collapse. The property, which is actually two parcels side by side, was built in 1900 and it was renovated in 1976. It was determined that was likely the case.

Business owners like AnnaMarie Cua were concerned they would not be allowed to return.

“We have a wedding this weekend and all of my tools and everything are inside and they're not letting us go in,” she said.

She owns Beauty Box and they've been in business the last seven years.

“Worst case scenario is they tell us no one is allowed back in the building and we have to find a new place to do business,” she said.

She said recently some doors inside her salon weren't closing properly -- so they had to have some interior work done.

“I didn't think that it was as major issue,” she said.

For now -- she says she's feeling fortunate that no one was hurt.

“It's tough, I've been in this area for seven years and I was here before the updates and construction of the neighborhood and we made a name for ourselves here."

However early Monday evening she learned it was safe to return.

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