Front overhang of CVS pharmacy on Waters Avenue collapses - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

Witnesses describe facade collapse at CVS


The front facade of the CVS pharmacy on Waters Avenue and 63rd Street collapsed at about 3:20 p.m. Wednesday. 

Savannah Fire and Emergency Services spokesman Mark Keller told WTOC that the front overhang collapsed and that everyone was already out of the store when they arrived. Witnesses described what they saw. 

"Four of the cars were crushed - their windshields and the hoods of the cars. ... We were concerned about structure. We work in shopping center. I called landlord and left him a message if we should be concerned," said Kristi Smith, of Southeastern Medical Equipment.

A woman was sitting in her car when the facade fell. An object inside the car then hit her from the impact, cutting her. The woman was taken to Memorial for treatment. 

"The awning fell, and I went to help this woman but the ambulance was already here and there was blood everywhere and she had. Her arms looked like it was hurt really bad," said Jane Greer. 

"People were crying. Everybody was wondering what was going on CVS and if the employees were injured. It was chaos. People were telling us evacuate so we weren't sure if it would domino affect going down the front," another witness told WTOC.  

Mike DeAngelis, a CVS pharmacy spokesman, said none of the store employees were injured. He said the employees were able to safely evacuate from the back of store. He said they are cooperating with authorities and that regional contacts in the area such as engineers and maintenance workers have been notified.  

An engineer from the city and general contractors are also at the site. A structural engineer will look to determine cause then they will begin the demolition of the canopy and the redesign. The building is 60 to 65 years old.

The Lewis family owns the building. The Kicklighter Group manages it. Officials told WTOC that the exterior of the building is the responsibility of the landlord, who is sending their own service vendor to the scene. 

"Our thoughts are with the customer who was injured. And we hope that it wasn't serious. And we're relieved that none of our employees were injured. This is a 24-hour pharmacy and it serves a lot of folks in the community and our goal is to get it back open as quickly as possible and soon as it's safe," said CVS pharmacy's DeAngelis. 

The 18 stores in the shopping center at 63rd and Waters Avenue are going to be closed until at least Monday until local officials can deem the strucure safe. 

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