Villager to be demolished

Remains of burnt-down complex to be razed today

T-R FILE PHOTO The remains of the fire-damaged Villager Apartments complex is scheduled to be demolished this morning. More than a dozen people lost their homes and their personal belongings in the blaze.

The remains of the fire-damaged Villager Apartments complex on North Center Street will be demolished this morning, according to the Marshalltown Fire Department.

The work is set to begin between 9 and 9:30 a.m., weather and equipment transportation permitting. Marshalltown Fire Chief David Rierson said a controlled demolition of the structure is necessary for safety.

“There are really no guarantees on which way it’s going to go,” he said. “We’re going to do our best to try and just knock it in on top of the existing debris pile.”

Heavy damage was dealt to the complex in a large fire the night of May 5, and the incident displaced 14 residents.

Safely demolishing the remaining walls of the building may prove tricky due to the damage done during the inferno.

“The walls are so weak right now that moving one wall could cause another wall to fall out,” Rierson said. “There are some collapse issues that we are doing our best to address and prevent.”

He added the demolition is to be paid for at the property owner’s expense, not the city’s.

The department also stated that the demolition should not be confused with a cleanup of the site, and is instead a “mitigation of immediate hazards.”

Additionally, the work is set to last 4-5 hours and the nearby city parking lot on State Street behind El Puente Restaurant will be closed for safety reasons and for heavy equipment access. The lot is set to re-open when work is complete and fencing is installed.

For more information, contact the Marshalltown Fire Department at (641) 754-5723