Thursday, April 15, 1999

Restoration, demolition to begin

The Cincinnati Enquirer

        As teams from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) left the area Wednesday to tally monetary losses from last week's tornado, cranes and backhoes came to begin restoration or demolition work in some areas.

        Jerry Bill, demolition superintendent for O'Rourke, a Cincinnati wrecking and construction company, said: “We are getting ready to take some (industrial buildings) down ... and getting ready to put some back” together.

        What was left of Architects Plus in Blue Ash was among the first to be knocked to the ground. It was so badly damaged, a backhoe did most of the job Wednesday afternoon. Cranes lifted twisted supports there earlier this week to allow owners to salvage what files, computers and equipment they could, Mr. Bill said.

        In the Loveland Commerce Park off Union Cemetery Road in Symmes Township, Mr. Bill was supervising removal of part of a roof, block foundation and siding to prepare Amano of Cincinnati's building for a temporary roof and wall.

        The company makes automated ticket dispensing machines, and “They want to be back and running Monday morning,” Mr. Bill said.

        FEMA is expected to report its damage estimate to the state in about two weeks, officials said.

        In the wake of devastating storms, it is not unusual to see industrial buildings razed or re paired faster than houses, Mr. Bill said.

        Salvage tasks are usually easier and quicker to accomplish, and many business owners carry business-interruption insurance so insurers are quick to help get them back in operation.

        Employees need work to earn paychecks. Amano, alone, employs about 70, and across the street, OKI Windows, a commercial glass and glazing company, employs 30.

        OKI Windows owner Paul Karl said he will try to salvage the structural steel beams and supports to rebuild within about six months. He is leasing space in Sharonville in the interim.

        In Blue Ash, Tom Gallenstein, president of Gallenstein Brothers, which owns 10 damaged buildings in the Blue Ash Industrial Park, said he is assessing damage to buildings and salvage tasks before making a call on whether to raze or fix them.

        “At this point in time, I think we have eight that have to come down,” he said.

        Mr. Gallenstein has been working to find his tenants other facilities and praying they return six months from now when he estimates reconstruction will be finished.

        Throughout residential neighborhoods, people were cleaning up debris. The echoes of hammer on nail sounded from roofs, and siding was being repaired or replaced. In areas where homes have been condemned, demolition is still a few days off, officials said.

        The Ohio National Guard has activated 100 soldiers to help with security, traffic control and cleanup in the area.

        At the Harper's Station shopping center on Montgomery Road in Symmes Township, Doug Mullin, a co-owner of Dutch Mullin Construction, has about 14 people working on about half of the center and two outbuildings — where some businesses may reopen by the weekend.

        Other workers were repairing a roof at the north end of the center. However, it appears the south wing of the center is beyond repair, Mr. Mullin said.

        Dan Klepal contributed to this story.


8 tornado sirens didn't work
In-home warnings considered
Middletown hears call for sirens
Residents begin planning new homes
Academy makes room for 340 displaced students
Officially: 92 homes, 40 businesses destroyed
- Restoration, demolition to begin
Road closings, curfews
How to help, get help
Mail service still disrupted
County officials report on impact, response