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Updated: Thu, 25 Jul 2013 11:40:48 GMT | By CBC News, cbc.ca

Emergency demolition forces evacuation in Vancouver

Emergency demolition forces evacuation in Vancouver

Emergency crews demolished a building in Vancouver's Japantown after its inside brick wall was found to have collapsed, leaving it leaning against the building next door.

Vancouver fire officials and city engineers were called to the 400 block of Powell Street by Tom Chow, who owns a business on the same block.

Chow said he is in the process of buying the vacant property, but was shocked to discover the brick walls collapsing when he visited the building.

"The wall had collapsed inward....it had put such a pressure on the wooden frame...There was no support on the west side wall," he said.

Chow said he was scared to find the upstairs had sunk down about two or three inches and the windows were cracked.

Officials said the only thing that was holding the building up was the structure next door.

Neighbours were escorted to their apartments to gather their personal belongings Wednesday afternoon.

BC Hydro shut off electricity and Fortis crews began digging up gas lines before the building was brought down.

Chow maintains he will probably still buy the property to expand his own business, even after the emergency demolition.

"If the city thinks it has to tear it down — tear it down.

"I was going to use it for the office.... I guess I will have to rebuild the building."

The building came down overnight as neighbours and onlookers watched from across the street in Oppenheimer Park.

With files from the CBC's Meera Bains and Renee Filippone

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