The Harrison Apartments on the corner of West Third Street and Harrison Avenue were torn down weeks ago, but a large pile of rubble still remains. The city’s Chief Building Inspector, Andy Burt, said removing the debris is the building owner’s responsibility.
The apartment building sustained damage during a fire in November 2014, and heavy rains this summer caused the roof to collapse July 2. Demolition crews were called in by the building’s owner July 3, and the building was torn down by early afternoon. According to the Pettis County Assessor’s Office, the building has been owned by Gerald R. and M. Kay Moore, of Sedalia, since 2005.
When it comes to demolition of most buildings or homes, the process is usually a lengthy one, and can often involve the court system. Burt said the decision to tear down the Harrison Apartments was made swiftly due to cooperation from the owner.
“This situation was different because the owner was involved and took responsibility for his property; he made the decision to tear it town without us forcing that issue, so we were able to speed that process up a little bit,” he said. “The owner agreed it was a danger to the public to leave it standing. With the roof collapsing and the parapet wall falling off, he agreed it was a danger to the public to leave it standing. If he would’ve disagreed, we would’ve brought an engineer in to get that opinion. With him agreeing, we were able to speed that up.”
At this point, the City of Sedalia is still somewhat involved in the process to clean up the area, but because it was the owner’s decision to tear it down, the responsibility of cleaning up the remaining debris also falls on his shoulders. Burt said the city will be involved “to the point of monitoring and making sure he has permits and that work gets completed.”
Burt said he did not know when the owner would be having the rubble removed, but that the owner has been talking to local demolition contractors for bids on clean up. Local contractors weren’t available July 3 to complete the job, and Widel Inc., the company that took care of demolition, was unable to return to remove the debris.
The process to remove the rubble also requires cooperation with the Missouri Department of Natural Resources, which could prolong the time line.
“The rubble is still sitting there because the Missouri Department of Natural Resources has regulations on demolition for air quality for asbestos,” Burt said. “They’ll have to get sampling done and all that before they can do the disposal. … DNR has a 10-day waiting period between applying for that permit and before you can start, so it can take some time for (the building owner) to get that accomplished.”
Burt said he was unaware if the owner had begun the process of testing with DNR, however, he did offer appreciation to the owner for recognizing the building needed to be torn down.
“We really appreciate the owner taking responsibility for his property and taking care of that,” he said. “It certainly makes it a lot easier for us to get things accomplished when we have cooperation with the owners.”
Nicole Cooke can be reached at 660-826-1000 ext. 1482 or @NicoleRCooke.