Updated 02/26/2013 05:25 PM
Building on the brink of collapse
A North Country building is on the brink of disaster. Village of Malone leaders are working against the clock to try and prevent a historic building from collapsing into the Salmon River. Barry Wygel has the latest on the efforts.
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MALONE, N.Y. -- From the street, it may look like any other building in disrepair. But from the side, you can see its one of the largest around.
"The total building has five floors, but it's over 90 feet tall from the top to the bottom, so it's equivalent to about an eight story building," said John MacArthur, a senior engineer at Beardsley Design Associates.
It’s now condemned and no one is allowed to enter it, but that doesn't mean the story is over.
"There are many risks. The obvious risks to the pedestrians and traffic on the bridge is that the facade is pulling away from the structure. If the building were to collapse it could fall out into the sidewalk onto the street," said MacArthur.
One of the major concerns is that if the building does collapse, it could rupture a sewer line in the Salmon River sending massive amounts of raw sewage into the water.
"It would very likely not survive that event and if it were to rupture, it would pour about 200,000 gallons of raw sewage a day into the river," said MacArthur.
To reduce those risks, some want to take the building down before it collapses, but that might not be feasible.
"We're looking at somewhere around $850,000," said MacArthur.
Village officials are reaching out to the state and the county looking for money to bring the building down before disaster strikes, but in the meantime, they are preparing for the worst.
"The village department of public works has put together a contingency plan for dealing with the sewer main, should it rupture. They can get everything here within six hours," said MacArthur.
But dealing with the sewer line might only be one aspect of a larger problem. Debris from the building could also dam up the river, causing severe flooding.
Officials and engineers are monitoring the building daily and the adjacent sidewalk to the structure has been closed off as a precaution.