Quake Aftermath: Crews Begin Demolition of Church’s Quake-Damaged Bell Tower in Downtown Vallejo

VALLEJO (KRON) — Authorities have closed Sonoma Boulevard/SR-29 between Carolina and Florida Streets due to a possible collapse of a church bell tower.

Crews have started work to remove the top 20 feet of the First Baptist Church bell tower at at 2025 Sonoma

Vallejo City Manager Dan Keen told KRON 4 that the bell tower was deemed unstable. The church was damaged in Sunday’s 6.0 earthquake centered in nearby American Canyon.

Someone at the church reported the damage on Monday morning. There is a visible crack along the side of the tower and appears to be separating from the rest of the church. The tower is leaning toward Carolina Street putting motorists and pedestrians in danger.

The church is one of 10 structures that have been red-tagged in the city. 34 other structures have been yellow-tagged.

According to Pastor Al Marks said, the brick church was constructed in 1921 and was retrofitted in 1992.

Sunday’s temblor left 49 people suffering minor injuries in Vallejo and two residents were admitted at nearby hospitals.

Vallejo city officials have estimated that $5.2 million in damage has resulted from the quake.

Streets in the area have been evacuated and emergency responders will use a crane to pull down part of the top section of the church to keep it from falling, Vallejo police Lt. Sid DeJesus said.

Motorists on northbound and southbound Sonoma Boulevard/SR-29 through Downtown Vallejo will be detoured by law enforcement. Drivers should expect delays and if possible take alternative routes.

At this time, there is no estimated time of reopening.

Stay with KRON 4 for more on this developing story.

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(Copyright 2014, KRON 4, All rights reserved.)

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