Village will soon say good-bye to fire pile

B y Jaime Thomas

After sitting untouched for nearly six months, the pile of debris left over from the Nov. 12 fire on Main Street should soon be gone.

Russ Kiggins, of Washington County Code Enforcement, said he thinks removal of the rubble could begin as soon as the end of this month.

“The settlement is settled. All agreements have been signed and the contract is in place — at least that’s what we’ve been told,” Kiggins said. On March 25, Kiggins signed two orders to remedy violations for the former buildings’ owners; one was for Beverly Koffler and the other for Constance Rojcewicz.

In conjunction with New York state property maintenance code, these orders instruct the two women to remove the demolition debris on site within 30 days of the notice or face punishment by fine or penalty. Kiggins said the women could potentially face Granville Village Court if construction doesn’t actually start by April 25.

John Winn, an attorney who has been involved in the case, also said insurance has settled the claim and the two parties have agreed to hire a company. He said they need to apply for a permit from the state asbestos control office.

“Once that’s in, they should be able to go forward with it,” he said.

The delay in cleaning up the pile stems from trouble in reaching an agreement between both parties’ insurance companies. Village officials said Rojcewicz, who lives in Hawaii, was waiting for a while to clear issues on her side.

When contacted on Friday, Rojcewicz said she has returned all the necessary paperwork to start work and that cleanup is drawing near.

“I hope it’ll get done soon, but I hoped that back in December. I’m doing what I’m supposed to be doing on my end. I’m using a bit of caution because my insurance has been difficult with what they owe me,” she said.

After firefighters put out the November fire, village officials deemed the remaining structure unstable and had it razed. Doing so combined the remains of both buildings, so neither owner could proceed independently of the other. It would be unfeasible to remove only some of the rubble.

Kiggins said the owners got a permit from a state-certified contractor to remove asbestos and all the wreckage left behind the fence on Main Street and work should begin “really soon.”

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