Man cleans-up collapsed building, finds items for 2-year-old victim’s family

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MORRILTON, AR – The scenery looks a whole lot different in downtown Morrilton these days.

“It was terrible because it symbolized the loss of human life, and that’s what bothered us the most,” said Mayor Stewart Nelson. He was standing where a building collapsed in May, killing two-year-old Alissa Jones. After a long process, the city took ownership of the property and hired Jay Sutterfield of Controlled Environmental Solutions to clean it up.

“It looked like this pile here,” said Sutterfield while standing next to the lone, small pile of rubble remaining. “You know it just, obviously the building collapsed and it fell on top of itself and everything’s just a mangled mess, you know?”

Soon after the clean-up process began though, Sutterfield had another job added to his to-do list. The city asked him to find 11 items buried underneath all of the rubble. Among those 11 items, two belonged to Alissa Jones, a backpack and a cell phone, and her grandmother wanted them badly.

“The only thing we [dug while on their] hands and knees was the backpack and the cell phone for the grandmother,” Sutterfield said. He found both. A little bit of treasure buried in tragedy that Sutterfield says almost brought him to tears.

“It was kind of an emotional deal,” he recalled. “From seeing the emotion and the tears from the grandmother, you just want to make that happen, know what i mean? You just do everything you can to make that happen.”

In all likelihood, the building clean-up will be completely finished by the end of the week. Then, Mayor Nelson says the city plans to sell the property to someone who wants to put a business there.

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