OGDENSBURG – The Ogdensburg Housing Authority is working with its insurance company to define the full scope of work that needs to be done to reopen the Riverview Towers. The building, 232 Washington St., has been closed since a fire on March 8.
OHA executive director Cheryl A. Douglass said there have been discussions with Philadelphia Insurance Co. about what is and isn’t covered as work progresses on the housing complex. .
“We’re hoping to get along and get on the same page with the insurance company soon, and then we can get some numbers,” Ms Douglass said. “It’s just that we’re trying to agree on the full scope of what needs to be done. This defines the full scope of work.
One of the items being discussed is the demolition of parts of the building, Ms Douglass said.
“That’s one of the elements of scope that we haven’t understood is how many things need to be dated and remodeled at this point,” she said.
The March 8 fire, which started in a sixth-floor apartment, caused extensive fire, smoke and water damage to the 10-story building which has 100 units and housed about 85 people at the time of the fire.
Last month, after meetings with the housing authority engineer, Gymo Architecture, Engineering & Land Surveying, Watertown, and several contractors, Ms Douglass said the delay in reopening the building to tenants was around three to four months. To complete the repairs and clean up the smoke and water damage, a rough estimate is $1.8 million.
OHA officials are still investigating the possibility of relocating tenants to the building on the upper floors where the fire occurred.
“We’re still hoping once we’ve finished the first floor and the basement, with the elevators working, that maybe we can populate the upper floors first, then when the lower floors are finished, and then start populating them as they are completed. said Ms. Douglass. “That’s our big plan at this point.”
Ms Douglass said work had been going on uninterrupted for several weeks. Both elevators have been repaired.
Asbestos removal from the tiles has begun; all must be replaced from the sixth floor, according to Ms. Douglass. The demolition of the first floor is finished.
“They’re working on five and six this week and making progress,” she said. “We are in the process of having the tiling contractors lined up and getting the tiles integrated.”
The OHA is also adding emergency lighting that would not be affected if the power were to be shut off again in a similar emergency. During the fire, lights were on on a generator that had to be turned off, darkening hallways and stairways.
“The lights are ordered and we’re just waiting for them to arrive,” Ms Douglass said. “That’s one of the things that came out of it was that we needed to get a battery-backed type of lighting, which we had no problem doing. It was one of those things we didn’t know until we needed it.