City officials review 'emergency demolition'

Feb. 8—ASHLAND — Two days after a condemned building caught fire at 3100 Central Ave. on Saturday, the fire marshal inspected it and deemed it an "immediate public safety concern," according to Chris Pullem, Community and Economic Development Director for the City of Ashland.

Pullem spoke about the situation during Thursday's city commission meeting.

He said the building needed to be demolished, so the city quickly put the job out to bid. As of Monday evening, contractor Mike Womack was on the job of taking down the building.

On Tuesday, Jeff Patton of the energy and environment cabinet conducted an inspection and discovered some asbestos contamination within the debris, according to Pullem. Together, the cabinet and the city developed a site management plan.

The Ashland Fire Department will keep water on the site daily to ensure any contaminant is tapped down while those involved work on a solution for safe removal of the debris.

Pullem said the hope is to release bids for that removal and award it by Feb. 23.

For the time being, the section of 31st Street between Bath and Central Avenues will be closed, Pullem said. He said Ashland Police is assisting with that closure.

Pullem credited AFD and assistant city attorney Andrew Wheeler for their devotion to the task of avoiding what commissioner Marty Gute called a "potentially dangerous" situation.

"Andrew was working night and day to come up with some sort of resolution with the property owner and the court," Pullem said.

Said City Manager Mike Graese: "There was a lot of coordination that went very seamlessly in a tough situation."

"I'm thankful for their quick work on this," Gute added.

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