Chamber building cleanup begins

Restoration work is underway at the Columbus Area Chamber of Commerce building.

Columbus Code Enforcement Officer Fred Barnett said that workers are using air blowers to dry out the structure, which suffered water and smoke damage from a fire that occurred in December. Workers are also removing debris.

“I think their main goal was getting the chamber building up and running,” he said.

The building, which is located at 440 Fifth St., also housed the Greater Columbus Economic Development Corp. (EDC) and some other small businesses.

The chamber and EDC are currently leasing space from Cummins, Inc at 526 Washington St. pending the remediation of their respective offices.

The Irwin Block Building east of the chamber, which suffered the brunt of the fire’s damage, is being prepared to be torn down, with Indianapolis firm Casey-Bertram hoping to begin work soon, pending the completion of pre-demolition work.

Estimator and project manager Jimmy Arthur said in a previous interview that the process of tearing down the building and removing debris could take about six to eight weeks.

Burnett said that a company contracted for asbestos mitigation has decided to treat all of the debris from the Irwin building as hazardous material.

“Which is smart on their part,” he said. “It’s better to be safe than sorry.”