The stability of a building at 801 Union St. in Hannibal, in particular the structure’s front porch, is raising concerns again at city hall.
During the Building Commission meeting earlier this week it was suggested that an emergency demolition might be in order since there is concern that removing the two-story porch might be enough to bring the entire building down.
Joey Burnham, building inspector, who was not present at Monday’s meeting, believes the building is still solid enough to withstand the porch’s removal.
“I haven’t got up to look at it real close, but I think these porches will be attached with lag screws or bolts. I don’t think the joists come out of the house at all. I think they just attach right there,” he said. “I think if we take the porch off it will be fine. I don’t think there would be any problem.”
For the most part, Burnham believes the structure is holding its own.
“No more bricks have fallen off the side that hadn’t been collapsed to start with. There’s a bow on the back of it, but it’s bowing to the inside which is a good thing because it won’t fall out on the back, it will come to the inside when they start taking it down. That will be a good thing,” he said. “Getting the porch off of it I think will be great right now. It’s on the demolition list anyway so we might as well take the whole thing down.”
One important step in the demolition process occurred earlier this week when an asbestos inspector went to the site.
“We have to have it tested before we do anything else with it. I’m not touching it until we get that report back,” said Burnham. “I told him (inspector) to expedite it (report), but it will probably be next week before we hear on that.”
Once the asbestos report comes back Burnham will take the next step.
“We’ll have to give a 10-day notification to DNR and get their blessing on it,” he said. “We’d still have to go out for bids on it, too.”
Concern was expressed at the Building Commission meeting about the proximity of power lines on the front of the structure and another residence on the back. Burnham is not worried.
“We’ve done houses with power lines closer than that before with no problem whatsoever,” he said. “As far as the house in the back, all of our (demolition) contractors have always done houses real close to other houses with no problems. As long as I’ve been here we’ve never had a house fall on another house during demolition.”