Altha residents react to White Building demolition

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Altha, Fla. — Almost a hundred years of history has been knocked to the ground.

“To see it come down, it’s heartbreaking,” said Meagan Waldroff, an Altha resident. “That shouldn’t have had to happen.”

Residents like Waldorff said the White Building was the centerpiece of their small town.

“There’s no words to describe it,” said Trey Varnum, another resident. “Just sick to my stomach.”

“[It’s a] forlorn, empty feeling,” said another resident, Lawrence Adkins. “Like days gone by, something you’ll never see again.”

Many of these residents went to school in the White Building, as did their parents and grandparents.

“I’m a third generation graduate of this school,” said Altha’s fire chief and life-long resident, Scott Waldorff.

The building suffered severe damage from the hurricane, and residents say steps were not taken to help save it.

“I’ve restored buildings a lot worse than this,” said Adkins.

Emotions ran high, creating a potentially dangerous situation; as one resident even threatened on Tuesday to shoot the construction workers doing the demolition.

Police responded to that threat. They say when they arrived at the resident’s home, the man, known as Phillip Mayo, answered the door holding a semi-automatic handgun.

Mayo admitted to making the threat, but that he had no intention of carrying it out.

He has been charged with a second degree felony for written threats to kill, do bodily injury, or conduct a mass shooting or an act of terrorism.

Meanwhile, other residents hope the White Building will be remembered.

“We have to move on and try to accept it and say goodbye the best we can,” said Waldroff.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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