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Demolition begins on burned-out house with removal of asbestos

by Paul Leakan


(September 15, 1998) For the past three years, citizens have asked the city to demolish a burned-out house nestled among a small jungle of weeds on the corner of Lee Avenue and Jarvis Street.

Neighbors were tired of looking at the eyesore. And they were worried that children could easily enter the building and hurt themselves.

But those worries will disappear over the next two days. Workers have begun the process of tearing the building down.

After securing a $7,280 contract and a permit from the city, a three-man crew from SAK Environmental of Sistersville started removing the asbestos from the house Monday.

Early in the morning, workers cordoned off the perimeter of the house with red tape. The crew then doused the building's asbestos siding with "Wetter Water," which is a clear liquid that adheres to the fibers and keeps them from becoming airborne.

The men, who were clad in white jump suits and filtered masks, then chipped and pried off siding with broom-sized metal scrapers.

The shards were sprayed again and then collected and bagged. The material will be hauled away to the new D-2 landfill in Glen Elk.

Workers will continue removing the rest of the asbestos today. On Wednesday, the building will come tumbling to the ground.

The job, which is part of the city's $50,000 plan to demolish 10 blighted houses this year, shouldn't be too difficult, said Fred Blizzard, president of SAK Environmental.

"This structure is in pretty good shape compared to some of the structures we go in," Blizzard said, adding that the demolition itself should take about 20 minutes.

As they pare down the building to a wood and stone skeleton, workers will look for any potential hazards, such as holes in the floors.

"It's kind of like a fireman," Blizzard said. "He knows what he needs to look for."

Meanwhile, Carl A. Hardy Jr., a neighborhood spokesman for Washington and Lee avenues who started a petition to level the house, is ecstatic to see the progress.

"I'm glad to see the city hold up their end of the bargain," Hardy said. "It's icing on the cake for all of us. To see it come down was worth the hassle and effort we put in to get it down.

"I guess in about three days it will be gone, and we can say 'at last!'"