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Building inspectors survey storm-damaged properties in Jefferson City

Building inspectors survey storm-damaged properties in Jefferson City

May 24th, 2019 by Nicole Roberts in Local News

Building inspector Daryl Brown, of Columbia, places a notice of structural inspected on a door Friday May 24, 2019 deeming the Jefferson City house on Capitol Avenue safe for occupancy. Jefferson City building inspectors are being assisted with tornado recovery through a mutual aid agreement with members of the Structural Assessment and Visual Evaluation (SAVE) Coalition.

Photo by Sally Ince /News Tribune.

Jefferson City residents might notice a red, yellow or green placard on their front doors in the coming days.

The city Building Department and a State Emergency Management Agency volunteer organization are working to inspect buildings damaged by Wednesday's tornado.

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The Structural Assessment and Visual Evaluation Coalition consists of volunteer engineers, architects and building officials from across Missouri who "help local agencies inspect damaged buildings following natural or manmade disasters," according to a Friday news release.

Sixteen S.A.V.E inspectors are conducting structural inspections in the primary 3-square-mile damage area — bordered by the Missouri River, Lafayette Street, 2200 block of Christy Drive and Madison Street — and immediately surrounding areas, Jefferson City Building Official Larry Burkhardt said.

They are looking for structural damage such as partially collapsed buildings, buildings off their foundations, leaning structures, building support damage, and falling hazards from chimneys or walls, among other items.

Residences that have red placards are considered severely damaged and unsafe, meaning residents cannot occupy the buildings.

"That's definitely unsafe, and we really don't want to see people in there," Burkhardt said.

Yellow placards mean a portion of the structure is unsafe.

A green placard means the building is structurally safe and residents can occupy it.

The S.A.V.E. Coalition is expected to assess about 500 Jefferson City buildings and 200 structures in Cole County believed to have been damaged by Wednesday's tornado, according to a Friday news release from Gov. Mike Parson's Office.

Some residences in Jefferson City's tornado-impacted area may have yellow stickers placed on them indicating forced entry was made to search for victims in the property during secondary searches.

Some residences in Jefferson City's tornado-impacted area may...

Photo by Jefferson City Police Department

Of the first 321 structures the S.A.V.E. Coalition reviewed, 183 received green placards, 60 received yellow placards and 78 received red placards, according to the news release.

If a residence has a red placard, that does not mean the building must be demolished or condemned, the news release notes, as "many buildings with red placards can be repaired."

Residents who want to make structural repairs to buildings with red placards must acquire building permits. Residents who have yellow placards on their residences may also require a building permit to repair the damages.

As of Friday afternoon, city officials had not decided whether they would waive building permit fees for storm-related damages, Burkhardt said.

Residents do not need to be home during inspections, and inspections will only be of the buildings' exterior, according to the news release.

If residents see a yellow sticker with an 'X' on or near their front doors, that means emergency personnel made forced entry to search for victims during secondary searches, according to a Friday afternoon news release from the Jefferson City Police Department.