Missoula roads closed after portions of remaining mercantile col - ABC FOX Montana Local News, Weather, Sports KTMF | KWYB

Missoula roads closed after portions of remaining mercantile collapse

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UPDATE: Two southbound lanes of North Higgins are now back open. 

Missoula Fire Chief Jason Diehl says deconstruction crews were working on the east side of the pharmacy building, when the remaining wall collapsed and the roof caved in. 

The east and south sides of the pharmacy were planned to come down in the deconstruction process, but Diehl says the rapid collapse raised concerns that the north and west walls would fall onto Higgins and Uptown Diner. 

All lanes of traffic on Higgins in between Front Street and Main Street were closed as a precautionary measure. 

Diehl says construction crews will likely spend the rest of the day securing the building, but they do plan to continue with the deconstruction of the east and south side walls. 

Emergency crews will remain on scene.

North Higgins Avenue in downtown Missoula is closed between Front Street and Main Street. 

Our reporter on the scene said the back side of the historic mercantile building started to fall, prompting the closure. Crews are demolishing the Merc to make way for a new hotel. Just this weekend, they sold portions of the building to residents wanting to get a piece of the historic building. 

We're told crews were working on that deconstruction this morning when the roof on the pharmacy portion started to cave in. 

Previous reports in the Missoulian have said developers may have to pay as much as a $3 million fine if the pharmacy section of the Merc is not preserved. 

As of about 8:45 a.m. Monday, the sidewalk on the west side of Higgins reopened. 

Check back for details throughout the day. 

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