Shortly before 9 a.m. on Saturday, the sound of debris clanging off the mental dumpster echoed throughout the nearby neighborhood.
A man located toward the rear of the property tossed items into the dumpster and a side door to the property remained open. Parked along the partially demolished 120-year-old building at 119 S. Liberty St. in Orwigsburg, was a white box truck.
“Hey, buddy are you taking pictures of me? If so, you got to let me know,” the man said.
This unknown person’s entrance into the property comes almost a week after the front of the building collapsed onto the sidewalk of South Liberty St., the borough enacted emergency measures to secure the property, and several weeks after the officials condemned the property, forcing the eviction of a salon owner and a tenant from the second-floor apartment.
The man dressed in an orange baseball cap with a Reese’s logo, a bright green T-shirt, and shorts later returned to the rear of the property. He was assisted by another man without a shirt and black jeans and boots. Neither men had any sort of company logo or official borough insignia on their clothing.
The white box truck without any lettering or logo was parked along Stephen Street, behind the borough’s roadway barricades and yellow caution tape. The men moved them to drive the truck out of the location.
Earlier in the morning, the two men who could be seen entering the property. They left the area in the truck shortly before 11 a.m.
Demolition Continues on Condemned Orwigsburg Property
Throughout the week, workers secured the property from further collapse. The wooden barricade in front of the property captured bricks and other debris removed from the building.
The borough hired SDL Construction LLC of Orwigsburg to secure the building – billing to be based on time and materials, said borough manager Robert Miller when reached by telephone on Wednesday afternoon.
Several pictures of the building and SDL workers appeared on the company’s Facebook page.
Miller said that the borough also hired contractor B&V Environmental Services Inc. for asbestos abatement.
The borough previously received an estimate of $10,000 for the asbestos removal, he said. The costs to completely raze the building, including asbestos, was quoted at about $60,000, Miller added.
When asked about the owner, Miller said it was available on public records but added that the owner had been fined and cited over numerous years. He directed specifics about such matters to ARRO Consulting.
According to Schuylkill County online records, the property is owned by Glenn R. Frantz. Contact information for Frantz was not immediately available.
The borough’s code enforcement officer filed several summary citations against Frantz starting in 2018, according to information on Pennsylvania’s Unified Judicial System website.
The most recent citations were filed on Feb. 21, 2020 for the violation, “rental units inspection.” There are five active citations pending, however a court date is not listed for the next proceeding, according to online records.
Though it’s unclear from online records whether those citations were directed toward the 119 S. Liberty St., property.
Prior to the condemnation of the property by the borough, it housed a salon on the first floor and at least one rental unit on the second floor. The deteriorating condition of the building forced the salon to close and the tenant to vacate the property, leaving behind business equipment, personal belongings and furniture.
Meanwhile, traffic resumed to one lane mid-week between South Liberty and Independence Sts. after the borough closed that stretch of roadway following the collapse on Aug. 2. A section of Stephen St. remained closed to traffic.
Miller said that he expects the contractors to complete the emergency work within 3 weeks or about 20 days.
Though after 11 a.m. on Saturday, the building again remained empty.
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