Fire-damaged buildings to be torn down in Norway

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NORWAY – Selectmen were told Thursday night that the former Pine Products building that was destroyed by fire in February has been sold and will be razed.

The building at Marston and Beal streets created a hazard to pedestrians, particularly children who passed it daily on their way to the nearby Guy E. Rowe Elementary School, officials said.

On Thursday, owner Tim Paul sold the damaged three-story wood-frame building to John Miller, a local general contractor.

Paul and his family operated a wood products business at the site for 33 years.

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Miller told the Sun Journal he does not have a plan for the property yet,  except to tear down the building soon at a cost of $30,000 to $35,000.

“We’re just clearing it to make it easier to recycle everything,” Miller said Thursday morning as he watched employees remove materials from the outside of the building.

Paul had also been trying to clean up the debris recently.

The building is one of two downtown structures gutted by fire in the past few months.

Last week, a rooming house at 256 Main St. owned by Madeline Pratt was destroyed in a fire. A tenant has been charged with setting the fire.

A dozen or so tenants escaped safely.

The house, one of the oldest in the downtown National Historic District, remains a burned out shell.

A sale of the property to a local businessman is expected to occur shortly, Town Manager David Holt said.

Holt told the board that other properties are also being looked at, including a more-than-100-year-old house at 157 Pikes Hill Road that was destroyed by fire last month. A family of four was left homeless by that fire.

The owners of that site and others around town that considered dangerous or neglected are being notified by the town to clean up the sites or the town will take action under a state law.

Holt said his main concern is public safety.

“The public safety is my main responsibility, but that does not mean that I do not have sympathy for and want to work reasonably with the owner/victims,” Holt said. “When the owners can handle these cleanups on their own, it is always best.”

Holt said he believes the Pratt property will be cleaned up without a problem, based on previous structure fires the family has had on other properties and the action they have taken to fix it up.

“I believe that each case has to be judged individually,” he said. “The boarding house just happened and needs to be released by the fire marshal. After that, the owners will be expected to get it cleaned up in a reasonable amount of time … we’ll establish a calendar with them.”

ldixon@sunjournal.com

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