Woodstock fire debris scheduled to be removed
Debris from the fire that burned a combination residential – business structure located at 164 N. Main St. in Woodstock on Feb. 10 still remain at the site.
The fire damaged the structure to the point that officials decided to raze the remaining portion of the building due to public safety concerns. The debris was blocking part of Locust Street located on the north side of the building and has since been moved to the lot on which the structure stood.
Donnie Gatchell bought the house with his mother in 2003. He was living in the house and was upstairs at the time of the fire.
“Yes, I was there when it started and the whole nine yards,” Gatchell said. “It was an electrical issue I’m sure. It had old wiring but there was no draw on that. The only wire that was at my bedroom was a wire from downstairs, a newer wire. It had to be wires arching because it happened right there at the steps.”
Gatchell said he was amazed by the work of the firefighters and proclaimed his immense appreciation for their actions.
As for the removal of the debris, Gatchell said that his hands were tied, explaining that he has been at the mercy of his insurance company.
“I’ve got approval to remove the rest of the debris,” he said, adding that before he could not do anything to disturb the fire scene. “That’s my project now is to get everything out of there.”
Angela Clem, Woodstock’s town manager, explained why the debris has yet to be removed. The fire happened on Feb. 10.
“We want to work with the property owners to make sure that it’s an agreeable situation,” she said. “We have utilized a section of the town code that states seven days is the limit, but given the amount of debris we’re being more flexible.”
Town police units were dispatched recently to a call reporting two individuals rooting around the property at night, Chief Eric Reiley confirmed. He said the individuals in question were juveniles and were taken home without being charged with anything, a case of “kids being kids,” Reiley said.
Contact staff writer Nathan Budryk at 540-465-5137 ext. 155, or firstname.lastname@example.org