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Hannibal Courier - Post - Hannibal, MO
  • City condemns former hospital

  • A former health-care center at 109 Virginia St. in Hannibal has been condemned. Joey Burnham, city building inspector, took that action Monday after viewing potentially hazardous conditions inside the structure.
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  • A former health-care center at 109 Virginia St. in Hannibal has been condemned. Joey Burnham, city building inspector, took that action Monday after viewing potentially hazardous conditions inside the structure.
    On Monday afternoon, Burnham accompanied members of the Fire Department into the structure after smoke was seen coming from the building. It turned out the source of the smoke was a wood-burning heater.
    The Fire Department was also called to the building on Nov. 20, 2013, after an automatic alarm sounded and smoke was seen coming from a section of the complex that once housed the hospital's laundry. The source of that smoke was a flue pipe from a wood stove inside the building.
    During Monday’s smoke investigation, Burnham found evidence that people were living in the former chapel. The city had been advised that members of a band only had permission to rehearse inside the structure.
    “A bunch of stuff had been set up in there - couches, workout equipment, a wet bar. Their band equipment was in there also,” said the building inspector. “Just the people who were supposed to be working were all that were supposed to be in there.”
    While in the building, Burnham viewed things that were a cause of concern.
    “We found that the people doing the scrapping inside the building had gotten into what appeared to be a bunch of asbestos. It was all over the place in there,” said Burnham, adding that the Missouri Department of Natural Resources has been advised of the potential health hazard.
    Another potential safety issue was also noted by Burnham.
    “The elevator shafts were wide open,” he said. “This thing doesn’t have any lights in it so someone could have walked off into one of those (shafts).”
    Wiring in violation of the city code was also spotted.
    “They had some temporary wiring in there that was approved in the beginning for them to work on the building, but since that approval it had been added to and it was very dangerous,” said Burnham.
    The building, which has been added to the National Register of Historic Places, is owned by Stephen G. Owsley, who bought the complex in late August 2011. He has applied for low income housing tax credits to the Missouri Housing Development Commission (MHDC) to help fund the conversion of the one-time hospital into 56 senior housing units. Reportedly, the units will be income restricted to 60 percent of median income levels for the area.
    The local project’s latest application to the MHDC was made last November. According to Brian Vollenweider, spokesman for the MHDC, the “funding for these applications will be taken up on March 14, 2014.” Because the matter is still pending, the records are closed.

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