El Reno City Councilman Bob Ballhorn said it was by the “Grace of God” that he wasn't sitting at his desk inside Connie Holt Bail Bonds Wednesday morning when a trash truck slammed into the building, demolishing it.
Ballhorn and Holt, his wife, operate the business at the northeast corner of Choctaw and Foreman.
Ballhorn said he had planned to go into the office that morning to email information to Kentucky concerning a client who is jailed here.
“I woke up at 5 a.m. and thought I should just go in now and get it done,” Ballhorn said. “Then I decided, no, I’ll just get another hour or two of sleep.”
Ballhorn said if he had gone in at 6 a.m., he would have been sitting directly where the Oklahoma Environmental Management Authority truck ripped through the building.
David Griesel, general manager of OEMA, said the driver of the truck and two helpers were headed north on Choctaw when a pickup apparently pulled in front of the garbage truck.
Police reports were not ready as of press time, but Griesel said the vehicles collided.
“Our driver was trying to avoid the collision and when they hit it just sent him right into the path of the building.”
No serious injuries were reported.
Griesel said the OEMA driver actually got another truck and continued on his way to Kingfisher and his regular collection route.
Ballhorn said the age of the building, believed to have been about 100 years old, may have prevented any serious injury.
“They didn't use rebar when these buildings were built,” Ballhorn said.
“Thankfully it was made of cinder block so it just collapsed.”
Ballhorn was at the El Reno city offices Thursday morning getting a permit to put up a portable building on the site. He said state law requires a bail bond business to have a physical address within five days of an incident like this.
Ballhorn said Holt was upset about colorful drawings made by “the grandbabies” that decorated the business.
“They had painted the floor when we moved into the building in 2012,” he said.
Ballhorn said he was able to collect five boxes of business materials.
He said a portable building was expected to be delivered to the site by Friday. Ballhorn said that will serve as the office until a new building is erected.
“We’ll rebuild and make it look nostalgic,” he said.