MOUNT VERNON — Physical investigation of last week’s fire at the former Kresge building in downtown Mount Vernon is complete, according to Mount Vernon Fire Department Chief Shawn Christy. “We are no longer involved,” said Christy this morning. “The ATF officials and state fire marshal concluded their investigation on Friday and turned the building back over to [MVFD] control. We have physically gone into the building and are now turning control of the building over to Mr. Montenery. It is now out of our realm.”
Videos, stories and photos pretaining to the fire of 201 South Main Street in Mount Vernon Ohio on October 25, 2010.
As far as determining a cause of the blaze, there still is no cause determined yet, according to Christy. “This is a case that never goes away. There is never an end to an undetermined cause,” said Christy. “What happens now is up to [Montenery].”
Safety and security as far as cleanup are up to the building owner, John and Mary Lou Montenery. “We talked to the fire chief and he says it is still very hazardous and unsafe to enter,” said Mary Lou Montenery. Fencing has been installed around the building to keep those downtown at a safe distance, and the surrounding streets are closed until the building is secured.
“We’ve heard a lot of opinions about what to do with the building, but right now we’re not sure what to do; we’re working on it,” said Mary Lou. “We would like to be able to save the building, but we don’t know if it’s practical. Our biggest concern is that we don’t want anybody to get hurt.”
Montenery told the News he was informed by the state fire marshal the building has to be demolished.
“It has to be a controlled demolition,” he said. “It cannot disturb the basement because the insurance company wants to do its own investigation to determine what caused the fire.”
Montenery said this kind of demolition is a very delicate operation and not every construction company is capable of doing it.
“We now had to call construction companies about doing this,” Montenery explained. “I will be talking with two companies today to determine how to proceed with this controlled demolition.”
For the time being, any plans past the demolition of the building are on hold. Montenery said he had considered several ideas but that nothing has been determined yet.
“We are throwing several ideas around but we don’t want to say anything until we are sure what we want to do. We will let the community know what we decide to do.”