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Wayne Post
  • Three downtown Palmyra buildings to be razed

  • Engineers have offered their recommendations and the Village Board has decided that three of the four buildings ravaged by fire on May 3 are condemned.



    Mayor Chris Piccola said the building next to the law offices of Converse & Morell is the only one that is salvageable, but the remaining three, one of which housed Mark’s Pizzeria and another Goldy’s Goodies, must be torn down.

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  • Engineers have offered their recommendations and the Village Board has decided that three of the four buildings ravaged by fire on May 3 are condemned.
    Mayor Chris Piccola said the building next to the law offices of Converse & Morell is the only one that is salvageable, but the remaining three, one of which housed Mark’s Pizzeria and another Goldy’s Goodies, must be torn down.
    Goldy’s has already moved to a location across the street next to Gallery of Styles.
    Structural engineers from MRB Group were inspecting the building last Tuesday morning, May 7 to determine the extent of the damage sustained following the fire that closed off Main Street and displaced nine people and several businesses. Engineers used a lift truck to get a closer look at the roofs of each building and peered in windows to assess the damage. At one point, one engineer climbed inside a window above Mark’s Pizzeria, all the while photographing the structure’s interior.
    “If you saw the photos we did of the buildings inside — it’s a mess,” Piccola said, noting that the third stories in the three buildings completely collapsed and the weight of the debris damaged second floor beams, causing them to sag.
    Engineers did determine it was safe to reopen the northern lane of traffic, something the state Department of Transportation had requested, Piccola said, but there is no access to the boarded-up buildings for the sake of public safety. Entrances in the back of the building were opened up briefly to allow property and business owners to retrieve whatever they could salvage.
    The fire broke out Friday afternoon in a third floor apartment at 236 E. Main St., and 16 fire companies from three counties battled the blaze for about four hours before bringing it under control. The fire spread quickly from building to building due to a lack of fire walls, which are required in new construction. These buildings, each of which housed ground-floor businesses and two stories of apartments, were built back in the 1800s — long before the fire regulations were in effect.
    Authorities say they know who started the blaze, but have released no information on whether charges are forthcoming, other than to say that the investigation is continuing.
    The condemnation of the buildings comes as no surprise to Piccola who said the three buildings sustained heavy fire, smoke and water damage. The fourth sustained some water damage as firefighters worked to ensure no fire was burning between the walls. Repairs can be made to the building, but Piccola said the building’s owner hasn’t said what he intends to do yet.
    The nail salon and smoke shop in the old Palmyra Hotel building has clearance to open as well, but customers may only access the entrance on Fayette Street, as the Main Street entrance will remain closed at this time.
    Page 2 of 2 - Building owners and code enforcement officers were meeting Monday to discuss demolition of the buildings, Piccola said, and to determine a timeline. As Piccola understood the demolition process, the buildings will be soaked with water during tear down to control dust. Each building owner has the option to choose his own demolition company, but Piccola said it would behoove them to all work together due to the proximity of the buildings.
    No date has been set for razing, but Piccola hopes to see them torn down within the next month in light of the many festivities set for the downtown area during the summer and fall.
    Piccola said Phase III in the process will be reconstruction, although there has been no talk about rebuilding. The village does not have building facade regulations, but the mayor hopes any new construction proposed would keep with the village’s historic look and feel.
    In a letter to Palmyra residents on delivery options while the Palmyra location is out of business, owner Mark Crane vowed to rebuild in downtown Palmyra, noting his 30-year association with the community.
    Crane started his business in the old Garlock House and later moved downtown.
     
     
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