Now that it's Ashes, Attention Turns to Cleanup - ABC5 News Des Moines, IA

Now that it's Ashes, Attention Turns to Cleanup

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Claire Powell

The city of Des Moines says the warehouse that burned over the weekend will need to be demolished. 

The building is just over 50,000 square feet and the Des Moines Fire Department and the city say that the building is a hazard and needs to be taken care of immediately. Until the building is gone, they're asking people to avoid the area completely. 

"We've had reports that people have been wondering around there and trying to get back in and it's just not a safe place for people to be and we're saying stay off the site," said Phil Delafield, Community Development Director. 

"It's not a safe structure, it's not a safe to go check it out or sneak into, kids should stay away from it. It's not a safe place to be, so we need to one keep it secure and to keep people away from it," said John TeKippe, Chief of Des Moines Fire Department.

The process of demolishing the building won't be easy because the owner is bankrupt. They will have 48 hours to respond to the city's notice and if no action is taken, the city will take control of the situation.

"In the interim, the city is going to end up paying the cost which we have the tools in order to force the property owner, whoever they may be, to pay for it in an assessment against their property taxes," said Delafield.

The building is worth around $180,000, but the current estimate just to demolish the building is much larger.

"We're erecting a 6-foot fence around the area and we estimate that to be around $13,000," said Delafield, "We looked at what it would take to relocate some of the material to an appropriate landfill and that cost alone was fairly substantial. It was somewhere in the neighborhood of $200–400,000 and now that we're involved in a demolition, the entire site will need to be cleared, so I'm estimating it will be well above that." 

Until the 6-foot fence is finished, the Des Moines Police Department will have an officer on-guard making sure no one goes on the property.
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