A three-storey former mill buidling collapsed on to a main road.
Staff from Dewsbury Fire Station rushed to the Stanbury Buildings opposite the Lidl store in Bradford Road in the town at around 10.30pm on Saturday.
The roof collapsed, forcing scaffolding and the front wall to spill out into the lanes. Police shut the road in both directions between the A638 Dewsbury ring road junction and the Commercial Road junction until around 9pm on Sunday.
The cause is not yet known but it is thought the building will have to be demolished.
Scaffolding has surrounded old mill for around 12-13 years, according to local councillor Paul Kane. But Kirklees Council has said its understands scaffolding “was not there to help the stability of the building.”
The Stanbury Buildings was one of 11 sites that the Dewsbury Regeneration Board picked out for renovation in August 2010.
Coun Kane (Lab, Dewsbury East), who was chairman of the board at that time, said: “We offered some assistance to get that building back into use and it seems to have been going on for forever and a day. We’ve had Building Control in there to generally have a look and I would have thought demolition is the only option.”
Builder Ray Murray bought the premises in the 1980s and following the regeneration board’s 2010 hit list had done work to the two-storey section by replacing the roof and fitting new windows.
Ravensthorpe company Hutchinsons Demolition, based in Calder Road, has now torn down the top two storeys of Stanley Buildings during an all-day effort from 9am on Sunday.
Director Jonathan Hutchinson said: “We got a huge, 70-ton crane in for access to dismantle the scaffoling that had fallen into the road.” The crane was used to ensure the sides of the structure were safe to avoid damage to neighbouring properties, he added.
A spokesman for Kirklees Council said: “Our first priority in incidents like this is the safety of the public. In this case council officers attended the incident and worked with the owner and their contractor to ensure the building was made safe so the road could be re-opened.
“The owner now has responsibility for the site clearance.
“We understand that the scaffolding on site was only for access and was not there to help the stability of the building. At this stage we do not know what caused the building to collapse.
“However, the council is not responsible for reviewing the condition of private buildings, this is a matter for the premises owner. If we do receive reports about potentially dangerous structures though, we do respond as quickly as possible and take up any issues with the owner.”
Mr Murray could not be reached for comment.