Demolition of collapsed Washington building to begin today

July 17, 2017
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Celeste Van Kirk/Observer-Reporter
North Main Street and its sidewalk are still closed at the site where the building collapsed last week. Order a Print
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Celeste Van Kirk/Observer-Reporter
Demolition has not started on the collapsed structure at 15 N. Main St. in Washington. Order a Print
Image description
Celeste Van Kirk/Observer-Reporter
Demolition has not started on the collapsed structure at 15 N. Main St. in Washington. Order a Print

Washington firefighters will soak the dilapidated structure at 15 N. Main St., Washington, for two hours Tuesday morning so crews can begin the process of tearing it down. After workers begin the “one-brick-at-a-time” demolition process, firefighters will continue to mist the area to cut down on dust.

“We’re just anxious to get this process underway,” said city Councilman Joe Manning.

The building, which housed a barber shop on the ground floor and apartments above, started to collapse Wednesday, trapping resident Megan Angelone for more than nine hours.

City officials secured an emergency order for immediate demolition from Washington County President Judge Katherine Emery. Contractor Allegheny Crane Rental, owned by George Washington owner Kyrk Pyros, was hired for the first phase of demolition, to get the unstable building down to a safe level. City officials have said that will be a slow and methodical process.

After that, the city likely will put a bid out for the remaining work. Because some of the cost will probably be funded by Community Development Block Grant funds, distributed by the Redevelopment Authority of Washington County, there are guidelines, including a bid process.

Manning said the roof of the adjacent structure at 19 N. Main, the former VIP nightclub, was being secured so it doesn’t become damaged in the demolition.

Ron Sicchitano, deputy director of Washington County Department of Public Safety, said shoring – the equipment used to hold up the structure – required recertification Monday because of the heavy loads sustained during rescue operations to free Angelone.

City officials are still looking for funding sources for the project, which is estimated to cost hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Manning estimated the first phase will cost around $100,000. He did not have a timeline for completion of the first phase.

North Main Street remains closed to traffic between Beau and Chestnut streets.

The owners of the building, Mark J. and Melissa Russo, were scheduled to appear before District Judge Robert Redlinger Tuesday over a citation filed by city code enforcement officer Ron McIntyre that alleges the Russos didn’t replace a failing garage wall. The hearing was rescheduled to 2 p.m. July 25.

Michael Bradwell has been business editor for the Observer-Reporter since 1995, and was named editor of The Energy Report in 2012. He joined the newspaper in 1990 as a general assignment reporter in the Greene County bureau and has also worked as a copy editor. A 1974 graduate of Pennsylvania State University with a degree in English, he began his career at the Bedford (Pa.) Gazette. Prior to joining the O-R, he served as public relations director for Old Bedford Village, account executive at two Pittsburgh public relations agencies and copywriter for the country’s largest wholesaler of mutual funds.

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Natalie Reid Miller has been with the Observer-Reporter since 2013. A native of Burgettstown, she primarily covers Washington and surrounding communities. Natalie has a writing degree from the University of Pittsburgh.

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