Masonic Temple demolition edging toward completion after devastating fire

·3 min read
The rear of the Masonic Temple in Zanesville before demolition resumed Monday.
The rear of the Masonic Temple in Zanesville before demolition resumed Monday.

ZANESVILLE — The demolition of the Masonic Temple in downtown Zanesville continued into its fourth day on Monday. Crews affixed a hydraulic cutter to the demolition excavator to cut the remaining steel superstructure.

Early morning visitors to the scene were treated to heavy smoke and flames in a few of the remaining windows as debris has been smoldering for two weeks since it caught fire.

Masonic Temple: 'I hate to see it go,' Saying goodbye to Zanesville's Masonic Temple

Delays in the project occurred as crews scurried to protect underground utilities and remove power lines from the area.

Demolition started at 7 p.m. Friday and continued into Saturday morning. By the time crews quit around 1:30 a.m., the entire front half of the building had come down. Demolition resumed at 3:30 Saturday afternoon with the rear of the building falling in huge chunks. Crews called it a day after knocking down the chimney, which fell in a series of cascading bricks.

The delays proved to be worth the wait said Zanesville Mayor Don Mason, as falling bricks from the chimney damaged a waterline behind the building that was 3 feet below ground and protected by steel plates on the surface. The line was buried at the same depth as a nearby a gas line that had been emptied and rerouted around the building to continue service to other areas.

Downtown Zanesville: Masonic Temple demolition delayed due to gas line work

Repairs to the waterline took about 13 hours to repair Saturday night and into Sunday morning, Mason said.

With most of the building down to two stories, those affected by the demolition have started to look forward.

Muskingum County sheriff hopes jail will be open next week

Muskingum County Sheriff Matt Lutz said he expects utilities to be reconnected to the jail on Wednesday. After water and gas service resumes he said he will heat the building and check for frozen pipes and toilets before hopefully returning the building to operation early next week. Muskingum County Prosecutor Ron Welch said he does not have a timeline for when his office will be able to return to their building.

Zanesville fire: Masonic Temple engulfed in flames

According to a letter from the City of Zanesville's Building and Code Enforcement Office, businesses on Fourth Street are allowed to reopen to foot traffic only as of Monday. Fourth Street will still be closed. The street will continue to be barricaded.

Despite rumors to the contrary, the entire building will be removed, said Doug Hobson, assistant chief for Zanesville Fire Department. "The whole building is coming down," he said. "It is not feasible" to save any of the lower floors.

Mason and Hobson said they were both impressed with the demolition contractor, Maple Leaf Demolition. Mason said the demolition had gone exactly as predicted.

Mason said no public money was used for the demolition, which was paid for by the property owners and their insurance company. He said the property owners will restore the site "to a developable state."

The owners, Real Ridge LLC, a group of four real estate investors - Jarrett Daniels, Wayne Newland, George Shreve and Dylan Daniels - purchased the building for $150,000 from Vintage Properties LLC in June 2019. It is registered under Newland’s name on Secretary of State's website.

This article originally appeared on Zanesville Times Recorder: Demolition of Masonic Temple in Zanesville edging toward completion

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