The head of the Frankfort Village Board of Trustees wants to see if federal assistance may be available to pay for the emergency demolition and eventual removal of debris of a building over the weekend.
Mayor Frank Moracco said on Monday during a telephone interview that the structure at 202 S. Frankfort St. had become increasingly hazardous as the weight from recent rainstorms further compromised the structural integrity of the former apartment building over the past few weeks.
“We’re checking with [the Federal Emergency Management Agency] to find out if we can get assistance,” he said.
Moracco said as mayor, he declared a state of emergency after inspecting the property with other officials on Saturday, which allowed for them to go ahead with the demolition process.
“If it may harm or damage the residents in that community, than I have the right to invoke a state of emergency,” he said.
Moracco said the inspection showed extra weight from the collapse and the rainstorms was “pushing on the outside walls.” He also said the basement was completely saturated and the wood inside the home was damaged.
“With that happening, we had no other choice but to take it down,” he said.
Moracco said he doesn’t currently have an estimate for the demolition of the building and the eventual removal of debris.
Residents reported hearing the third floor collapse onto the second floor Saturday afternoon.
“I called the deputy mayor [Rick Adams], and he got the ball rolling,” said Dorri DeRollo during a telephone interview on Monday. DeRollo, who lives next to the property at 200 S. Frankfort St., said her 19-year-old son was outside by his truck when the collapse happened. The collapse reportedly blew out windows and sent debris flying.
“It’s been falling apart for six years,” she said. For example, she said shingles and windows have fallen from the structure in the past, which have resulted in damaged property, and that some of the falling debris have nearly missed hitting people.
Neighboring residents said they were evacuated from the area shortly after the collapse, when village officials decided it needed to be demolished immediately.
Carmelina LoRe-Cooper, who lives on Fourth Avenue Extension, helped her parents who reside at 208 S. Frankfort St. evacuate from their home during the few hours it took to demolish the property.
“The village was quick to act,” she said during an interview Monday morning.
LoRe-Cooper said there had been problems with the building over the years, including attracting rodents and other animals, and having a mold and mildew.
“It was a beautiful structure. The immigrants came and settled here,” she said, while standing outside the remains of the building on Monday. She said she didn’t know how old the structure was, but that it had been up at least 50 years.
Page 2 of 2 - Abandoned properties and absentee landlords have become a concern of residents and board members over recent months, including the one at 202 S. Frankfort St. LoRe-Cooper said on Monday residents have brought up their concerns with the building during past village board meetings.
“There’s only so much [the village] can do,” she said.
In a Telegram article dated Feb. 12, the village had “received bids for the demolition of a deteriorating building at 202 S. Frankfort St., but rejected the bids as too costly. Moracco said…village taxpayers cannot afford to pay $50,000 or more to demolish each abandoned house in the village.”
Moracco added on Monday the process of having the building demolished was also stalled because the property had nine liens against it.
While the structure is now demolished, residents are now left with another problem.
“We now have to see if they’re going to haul it away,” said DeRollo, of the debris that was still at the site. “We can’t get into our driveway. We have to park on the street.”