Officials Want More Building Inspections
They issued the warning because most towns don't require building inspections. Local codes usually cover only new or remodeled structures; old buildings don't have to meet the same standards.
Downtown Fulton has several buildings that are at least over 100 years old.
"There's serious problems, especially in the older towns, with the older buildings," said Fulton Planning Director Les Hudson. "I'd say the likelihood is pretty great that it's going to happen again."
Hudson says old buildings often are ticking time bombs.
"You never know for sure what the foundation is like, how soft the bricks are on those buildings," he added. "All of these towns in central Missouri, and I'm sure all over the United States, all of these buildings were built, some of them, back before the Civil War."
A former public safety director said the state needs to better regulate buildings, regardless of age.
"Until something happens like what happened in Clinton, people don't really take to heart the importance of having standards," said Charles Jackson.
Hudson recommended owners have an expert check their old buildings, although sometimes the only safe solution may be demolition and rebuilding.
"Building owners could hire a structural engineer and he could look at it," he explained. "In some cases, it would be real easy to identify and fix, in other cases I don't really know that a structural engineer could do it."
Despite his concerns, Hudson said there is no cause for panic.
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