Officials: Malone building may collapse - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Officials: Malone building may collapse

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Stuart Rowley works on frames in his art gallery, Forartsake, on Main Street in Malone.

"Everybody is asking are you going to move your artwork every night," he said.

He is joking about the risk of the building next door falling onto his business.

"It will collapse; there is no doubt about it. It's just a matter of when," said Jim Haley, the Malone Village code officer.

The building, which dates back to the late 1800s and sits along the Salmon River, was condemned in 2010. It was an old printing and clothing store.

"This is one of the support beams for the second floor, and you can see the socket is slipping out. It's got about two inches to go," Haley said.

The building was inspected in November. At the time, engineers thought it would stand for another five years. But an inspection last week gave it less than a year. The building has moved two inches since November.

"You can see how it is bowed out," Haley said.

If the building does collapse, it would be the second building in downtown Malone to come crumbling down in the past two years. In July 2011, the old Nicci's building on Main Street collapsed in the middle of the night after sitting vacant for nearly two decades.

"They talked about how it was unsafe and what should be done and nothing was. And then one day it was lying in the street," Rowley said.

Officials have been unable to contact the owner of the building, who lives in England. So they are stuck with the problem. And at a cost of half a million dollars, their only option is to let it fall unless the state or federal government can chip in some cash.

"It's going to be a challenge to demolish because of its proximity to the street, the river and the west wall shares a wall with a building adjacent to it," Haley explained.

"I'm keeping my fingers crossed that it doesn't damage this building," Rowley said.

A race to bring down a building before it comes down on its own.

State leaders plan to view the situation next week.

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