1815-17-ridge-collapse-rear-south-img_6481-20150712

Update 11:20 a.m.: The partial collapse of a building overnight is expected to keep Ridge Avenue blocked to northbound traffic between Clark and Emerson streets in Evanston at least until sometime Monday.

When part of the roof at the northeast corner of the building at 1815-17 Ridge collapsed late Saturday, it touched off an electrical fire which fire crews managed to extinguish.

Gary Gerdes of the city’s building division says the collapse weakened the rest of the former National School Towel Service building’s roof structure, leading to fears the entire building might collapse — sending debris out onto Ridge Avenue.

Utility crews were on the scene this morning shutting off service to the building.

The city recently authorized negotiations to sell three small city-owned lots adjoining the towel service property to developers who have proposed a nine-story, 155-unit rental apartment complex on the site.

Police reopened traffic on the southbound lanes of Ridge about 10 a.m. and southbound traffic from Green Bay Road onto Ridge Avenue has remained open.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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