Still no demolition after Oelwein fire - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Still no demolition after Oelwein fire

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OELWEIN (KWWL) -- The West Charles Mall went up in flames the night of May 7th.  Four months later, the street out front is still blocked off.

The fire damaged an antiques and collectibles business, several apartments and the vacuum store "Kirby of Oelwein."

People living in six apartments at the mall had to be rescued.

Oelwein fire chief Wallace Rundle said despite the fact the building is still standing, it will have to come down. The structure is beyond repair.

The Kirby store next to the mall has just been torn down, but the mall itself has yet to be demolished.

Rundle said the long wait had to do with a lot of red tape.

"As far as the removal of the building, of course there's quite the process in going through everything," Rundle said. "We check for asbestos, we check with different companies in order to remove the building safely. And that's kind of what's taken the time."

A spokesperson for the state fire marshal's office said the fire - including probably cause and whether there may be suspicion of criminal activity - is still under investigation, so the office therefore cannot comment.

As for the demolition of the mall, the fire chief said work paused after the Kirby building came down.

The owner of the mall said the company doing the demolition plans to tear down the big building next week.

Rundle said the fire department's initial report estimated the total loss at $400,000, although he said that was just a rough first guess.

Online Reporter:  Becca Habegger

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