LONGVIEW, TX (KLTV) - Storm recovery efforts are underway in Longview after a powerful storm blew through the city Wednesday afternoon. Part of those efforts is focused on the Oakland Heights Baptist Church.
The red brick building trimmed in white sits at the corner of Judson Road and Eden Drive - an area of the city that suffered significant damage.
The toppled steeple created an engineering challenge Thursday morning. It’s sheer weight forced crews to bring in a second crane to help with the removal process.
Church member Bill Slack said the estimated weight of the steeple is between 15,000 and 20,000 pounds. The weight caused it to actually become embedded in the roof.
“When it stuck in our roof, it actually bent the steel, the structural steel in the roof,” Slack said. “We had one crane out, it wasn’t big enough, we brought another crane out and they decided they need a bigger crane. They’re keeping the one crane with a basket so they can lift someone up there to try to tie off the thing and then use a bigger crane — once its tied to it — to try to lift it out."
It’s expected to be a long process to lift the steeple, at which point crews will be able to see the full extent of damage to the roof.
The Longview Police Department tweeted Thursday morning that Judson Road and Fourth Street are all clear and passable, and that McCann Road should be open shortly. Crews are still working to restore power and clear streets.