MALONE — Work was begun Wednesday to affix metal plates to the front of 395 West Main St. to draw any falling debris inward should the building collapse.
The Malone Village Board took the precaution on the advice of engineer John Macarthur of Beardsley Design Associates, who said the 90-foot-tall building was in imminent danger of falling down.
State-agency and political representatives are to meet with local officials at 1 p.m. today at the Village Offices to discuss options for the condemned site.
Macarthur has said it could cost the village millions of dollars in liability if nothing is done to the vacant, badly deteriorated building and it were to fall into the street and Salmon River.
FLOORS TOO ROTTED
Village Code Enforcement Officer Jim Haley watched from the street below Wednesday morning as Department of Public Works employee Scott Richards used a lift to hoist an expert to the upper floors to test for asbestos.
Richards said Aaron Jantzi of Gymo Architecture, Engineering and Land Surveying of Watertown happened to be in Malone testing for asbestos at 3 Morton St., where an apartment house was heavily damaged by fire on Jan. 29.
Haley said Jantzi would visually inspect and collect samples while leaning in a window at 395 West Main because the interior floors are so rotted they may not hold the weight of a man safely.
Jantzi was also taken to the roof and used a ladder to reach up and hammer away a section to test.
The code officer said the building has been gutted and that there is likely no Sheetrock, tile or other asbestos-laden material inside. But the village wanted tests to be certain.
“If it does collapse, we want to know if it’s hot or not,” Haley said, adding that removal of the building and the cost of debris disposal depend on the results.