United Furniture temporarily closes after wall collapses

BOWLING GREEN, Ky. – The United Furniture and Appliances store in Bowling Green is closed indefinitely following a wall collapse Sunday night.

The back wall of the family-owned furniture store is in shambles. Bricks and other pieces of back wall spilled out into the alleyway behind the store which is located downtown on State Street. The store has been part of the downtown district for decades.

Bowling Green Fire Department was on the scene Monday morning helping to block off the area.

“We have left it in the hands of the building department and Stewart Richey. Stewart Richey already knew about the problem with the wall, that it was already bowing out, so they were already working on a way to solve that,” Bowling Green Fire Department spokeswoman Marlee Boenig said.

Apparently, several days ago store owner, Sam Kirtley III started noticing bricks falling from the wall inside and a support beam bending.

“We had some bricks fall just on the inside back of the wall, so we were made aware of that, and we saw a support beam.  So, we called Stewart Richey and they came out and blocked off the area. So, we kind of knew it was a matter of time before it happened,” said Kirtley.

Kirtley arrived this morning to find the wall destroyed.

“We have over a 100-yeard-old building, and we’ve actually been here at United Furniture for 72 years. The building has taken some stress over the years with all the rain and water that we’ve gotten, the back wall of our structure fell overnight,” said Kirtley.

The good news is that no one was hurt, and the front of the building has not been damaged.

“The building is safe to be occupied in the front part, but there is no gas or electricity to the whole building. This part that collapsed there was no one that was occupying that area anyway, so it is unsafe that part is, but the rest of the building is OK,” Boening said.

Kirtley says he’s unsure when the store will reopen.

“We’ve got good people helping us here, and we hope to be back up and running as soon as possible,” said Kirtley.