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East side of Bankston Aviation building collapses; car hit by brick

COVINGTON - The old Bankston Aviation building on Washington Street is now mostly a pile of bricks, wood and broken glass.

The east side of the building collapsed Thursday afternoon just before 5 p.m., said Covington Fire Department Capt. Rob Christopher.

The cause of the collapse has not been determined, but Christopher said it appeared as though either the second story flooring or the roof gave way.

No injuries were reported but a passing motorist's car was hit by one of the falling bricks, Christopher said.

A city building inspector determined that the building was an immediate hazard and needed to be torn down for the safety of the community, Christopher said.

The back portion of the building was still standing Friday. A crew was busy removing debris in preparation for demolition.

Owner Jim McCarthy said he didn't know when the structure was built.

He and business partner Edward Quirk bought it in the early 1990s and have been using it mainly as storage space for a gutter business, he said.

Covington resident Jerry Capes estimated the building is at least 60 years old.

The 73-year-old Capes said he recalls a Royal Crown Cola bottling plant operating there when he was about 11 years old.

It was later used by aviator Edward Bankston, who repaired planes there, according to McCarthy.

It will take several days to get the debris removed and the building torn down, McCarthy said, adding that he's undecided about whether to rebuild.

"All options are open," he said.

Crystal Tatum can be reached at crystal.tatum@newtoncitizen.com.