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The roof collapsed Thursday night on one of the old industrial buildings that were once slated to be Machinery Row.

The buildings — located at 829 and 900 Water Street — were to be torn down because of the deterioration that had taken place, but nature took its course and speeded up the process.

Stephanie Barr, a member of the 5th Street Yacht Club, was sitting outside at a picnic table when they saw the roof cave in at about 5:15 p.m.

“We heard a rumbling noise and watched it all collapsed,” she said. “It wasn’t like an explosion or anything, the sides just caved in.”

Barr called 911 because she could see a truck sitting near the site. 

“He didn’t look like he was injured though because he got into his truck and left,” she said.

Phone calls were made to the City of Racine Planning and Building Departments. A statement is being prepared to provide more information. 

Gorman & Company once sought to redevelop so that they can sell the land to another developer and get it back on the tax roll. A number of businesses — including the Racine Baseball Cooperative — were evicted from the buildings because the roof was collapsing.

We’ll update the story soon, so keep checking back.

Denise Lockwood has an extensive background in traditional and non-traditional media. She has written for, the Milwaukee Business Journal, Milwaukee Magazine and the Kenosha News.