Borough sets deadline to fix building with collapsed wall

November 14, 2006|by KATE S. ALEXANDER

WAYNESBORO, Pa. - Owners of the East Main Street building where a wall collapsed early Sunday morning have until Friday to remove the hazard or the borough of Waynesboro will take steps to tear it down, building code official Mike Cermack Sr. said.

In a joint decision Monday afternoon, Cermack and borough code enforcement officer Dan Sheffler set Friday as the deadline for the owners to remove the damage after the situation continued to worsen.

"Our biggest fear is that the rest of the wall will collapse," Sheffler said.

Cermack said the building at 28 E. Main St. could collapse at any time, and as long as it remains in its present condition it poses a threat to its neighbors.

"The situation will continue to worsen unless the wall is supported," he said

The collapse happened early Sunday when the east wall of the foundation "kicked in," causing the east walls on the first and second floors to follow, Sheffler said.


The damage resulted from excavation in the basement of the building that formerly housed Waynesboro Laundry Service. Sheffler said the owner was excavating the basement's dirt floor to replace it with a concrete floor and dug below the foundation. "They went deeper then they should've," Sheffler said.

Cermack and Sheffler believe the heavy rain Saturday was the catalyst for the damage.

"The rain washed the dirt out from around the foundation," Cermack said. With more rain forecast this week, he said action must be taken immediately.

Twenty-four people have been displaced from neighboring buildings on East Main Street.

On Monday, Waynesboro Fire Chief Ron Flegel arranged for the displaced residents to enter the buildings under fire department supervision and retrieve their belongings.

Flegel said firefighters were on hand to be sure those who went in came back out.

"We stood by as a safety precaution, due to the instability of the building," he said.

By Monday evening, Cermack said not all the displaced residents had come to retrieve items and while the fire department was only on call for Monday, he could arrange to retrieve their belongings.

"If someone needs in and it is not more dangerous, we will escort them with official supervision," he said.

Borough officials said the building is owned by Heberto Gutierrez, also identified as Heberto Ortiz. Attempts to reach the owner were unsuccessful Monday.

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