Fire Department

A property on East Pleasant Street long viewed as the poster child of blight in the city will soon meet its demise.

The Corry Fire Department and Stanford Hose Co., along with the help of surrounding volunteer fire departments, will conduct a controlled burn at the 433 E. Pleasant St. residence beginning at 6:30 p.m. Thursday.

Kathy Hendricks, the city’s code enforcement officer, announced the controlled burn Tuesday, and has sent notices to neighbors in the area.

The notice reads: “If you or anyone in your home has breathing problems or is on oxygen, please take them away from the area during the burn. Please close windows and doors to keep the smoke out.”

Hendricks said no one has lived in the abandoned two-story property for “a number of years.”

The property’s owner will pay for the cost of the controlled burn, though the pricetag has yet to be determined by the city fire department. Afterward, a bulldozer will be brought in to cover the basement to alleviate any additional hazards.

“I’m certainly glad this is happening,” Hendricks said. “This was one of the properties I was told about that needed a resolution when I first got here.”

The burn, she said, was scheduled after approval was granted by the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection. The DEP allows three exceptions to its open burn regulation, one of which is for the prevention/abatement of a fire hazard.

Two citations against the property owner currently are making their way through the district judge’s office for debris and high grass. Hendricks said she wasn’t aware of any court dates regarding the citations.

Fire Chief Dan Flick said the controlled burn should last a couple of hours; a member of the department will set fire to one section of the property.

“We’ll set the sucker on fire and make sure it lights,” Flick told The Corry Journal. “We will make sure to protect the exposures to other properties.”

During the burn, the residence will be pushed into the basement to ensure the structure does not collapse outside. Tankers from Columbus, Elgin and Spring Creek volunteer fire departments will be brought in for their water supplies.

No hydrants will be used, Flick said. More than 15 city firefighters are expected to be at the controlled burn, though no training will be taking place due to the unsafe nature of the structure.

“It’s not safe,” Flick was quick to point out. “The roof and second floor are falling in. The DEP has determined it is a hazard for health.”

The controlled burn was viewed as the quickest way to rid the property of the blighted residence.

Once the burn appears to be under control and its purpose served, firefighters will douse the structure with water.

Flick noted there has not been a controlled burn in the city for “quite a while.”

He also cautioned nearby residents to be vigilant around the scene.

“We would ask people to stay back and give us room to work,” Flick said, noting the positives of burning the structure now.

“We’d rather have this controlled rather than have to show up in the middle of the night and extinguish a real fire,” he said.

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