August 19, 2022

Building to come down

With an engineer’s report stating that the building at 101 E Washington needs to be demolished, Osceola City Administrator Ty Wheeler has sent owner Siwan Jeetun a notice stating that he has 90 days to do just that. If Jeetun fails to comply, the city will take over the process of demolition.

The City of Osceola code regarding dangerous buildings can be found in Chapter 145, and has a general definition of unsafe as:

“All buildings or structures which are structurally unsafe or not provided with adequate egress, or which constitute a fire hazard, or are otherwise dangerous to human life, or which in relation to existing use constitute a hazard to safety or health, or public welfare, by reason of inadequate maintenance, dilapidation, obsolescence, or abandonment, are, for the purpose of this chapter, unsafe buildings. All such unsafe buildings are hereby declared to be public nuisances and shall be abated by repair, rehabilitation, demolition, or removal in accordance with the procedure specified in this chapter.” (Chap. 145.02)

Fire

Jeetun’s building, which had sat unoccupied for several years, was destroyed by an overnight fire on April 5.

A notice of dangerous building had previously been sent to Jeetun in the weeks following the fire, instructing him to erect a six-foot tall construction fence around the building, close off the east side of the building (that had been opened up to retrieve materials for the fire investigation) and have a structural engineer assess the condition of the building. Jeetun did not take any action, resulting in the city putting up a fence, boarding the east side, and hiring an engineer.

Building

The brick, two-story building was built by R.M. Lewis over 120 years ago, sharing a wall with a building built by Norton Bailey shortly thereafter. Over the years, many businesses have occupied the space, including a tire shop, a fabric store, a bookstore, Hylton’s Grocery Store, Sally’s Hallmark and Flowers ‘N More.

Time Frame

Jeetun has until mid-October to act on the notice for demolition. A report from the fire marshal is not available at this time.

Candra Brooks

A native of rural Union County, Candra holds a Bachelor's Degree in English from Simpson College and an Associate's Degree in Accounting from SWCC. She has been at the Osceola newspaper since October 2013, working as office manager before transitioning to the newsroom in spring 2022.