Danger in Kent: Watch for falling bricks

By Diane Smith Record-Courier staff writer Published:

Seidler Engineering Inc. completed a report on whether the building is structurally sound. The inspection, funded by the city, was part of an agreement between the city and building owners Joseph Bujack and his daughter, Elizabeth.

The report states that while there are problems with the upper floors of the building, such as weakened roof deck boards, signs of deterioration in the reinforced concrete frame and debris and construction materials, they did not appear to affect the structural integrity of the building.

However, the brick facade poses a serious hazard and is in need of immediate repair, the report states, noting that mortar is weak and missing in some areas.

"The loose condition of the brick, weak or missing mortar, combined with the close proximity of adjacent sidewalks and streets, could allow brick to fall, potentially causing serious injur(y) or kill passerby," the report states. "It is our opinion that pieces of mortar and brick have fallen in the past and that, without repair, pieces or whole bricks or even entire sections of 3 to 10 square feet may fall in the near future."

Neither Elizabeth Bujack nor her attorney, Robert Paoloni, returned phone calls seeking comment.

The city has filed for a permanent injunction to close the structure until it meets health, building and fire codes. A hearing on the matter will be held Thursday.

The top three floors of the city were condemned by the city as uninhabitable since 1970. The lower levels house the Cornerstone Grill, Mooney's Goose and Club Y2K.

Tuesday, the city's fire inspector, Lt. Robert Keller, and Health Commissioner John Ferlito did a final inspection in preparation for Thursday's hearing, using the fire department's ladder truck to gain access to the upper portions of the building.

Keller said the city wanted to have an inspection that was more timely than those done previously.

Ferlito said pigeon infestation, which has been a problem in the past, is still a problem, although the Bujacks have made some improvements.

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