Heavy demolition of Irwin Block building underway

An Indianapolis company has brought in the heavy equipment and demolition of the fire-damaged Irwin Block building in downtown Columbus is continuing.

The company first did a brick-by-brick demolition of the firewall separating the Irwin Block building from its neighbors, the Greater Columbus Indiana Economic Development Corp. and Columbus Area Chamber of Commerce offices, which were also damaged in the Dec. 3 fire.

City officials have been told the demolition could take six to eight weeks, possibly to be completed at the end of February.

In December, Columbus firefighters warned the building was unstable, saying it could collapse at any time. The building did stay standing until demolition began.

It has been almost two months since a massive fire destroyed it, resulting in a large portion of its third-story facade collapsing onto the sidewalk and street at both the front and the back of the structure.

Local and state investigators have ruled the cause of the Dec. 3 fire as “undetermined,” meaning that they were unable to find enough physical evidence or evidence obtained from witnesses that would indicate what caused the fire.