Ithaca, N.Y. — Parts of the building that housed the Chapter House bar could remain standing following a fire earlier this month, according to Mike Niechwiadowicz, director of code enforcement for the city of Ithaca.
That would mean that there’s a chance the whole structure won’t have to be torn down and rebuilt — though it’s too soon to say for sure either way.
“The engineer’s report has identified the portions of the remaining structure that are not in danger of imminent collapse and will be allowed to remain at this time,” Niechwiadowicz says.
“Please note the fact that after additional removals the remaining portion of the building will not be in imminent danger of collapse does not necessarily mean that it can be saved.”
We also learned the following from Niechwiadowicz about the Chapter House clean-up:
— “The clean up and removal of debris has begun,” he said.
— Different parts of the building were identified by the engineer as being able to stay standing. That includes “most of the exterior walls,” according to Niechwiadowicz.
— More engineering analysis “will have to be done to determine if the remaining portion of the building can be saved,” Niechwiadowicz says.
— The building did have a current certificate of compliance with city building code, according to Niechwiadowicz.
— A fire started in the basement of that building in 2000. At the time, an Ithaca fire lieutenant told The Ithaca Journal that officials were “absolutely sure” that it was intentionally set.
Phyllis Radke, previous building commissioner for Ithaca, also told The Journal in 2000 about the fire at that building: “The problem is that the building preexisted building codes, it may or may not have had insulation. We do not have retroactive codes.”
Last week, Niechwiadowicz said that Radke’s comment still applied, because “the building pre-existed building codes and the retroactive codes are very limited in scope.”
Ithaca Voice coverage of Chapter House fire
Update: Everyone safe in fire at Ithaca’s Chapter House; buildings lost – Everyone is safe and accounted for in a fire that drew a huge emergency response and caused significant damage at The Chapter House. Ithaca Voice
Chapter House bartender: Our sympathies are with those who lost homes – “We’re really happy that everyone is okay: That is the most important thing.” Ithaca Voice
Why I will always love The Chapter House – Sometime during my sophomore year at Cornell, my best friend turned 21. I was still 20. Ithaca Voice
Danger unknown, Ithaca crews rushed into burning Chapter House building – Ithaca crews arriving at the scene of a multi-building fire on Stewart Avenue early Tuesday morning faced a daunting task.Ithaca Voice
Hundreds of donors raise more than $22K for Chapter House fire victims – An outpouring of support has already raised at least $22,000 for those affected by The Chapter House fire on Tuesday.
Cornell student escapes from Chapter House fire: ‘The entire area was orange’ – “When I put my glasses on, I could see through the glass that the entire area was orange.” Ithaca Voice
Cornell grad student offers to house those displaced by Chapter House blaze – Katherine Herleman reacted with dismay when she saw news of the fire at The Chapter House in Ithaca early Tuesday morning.Ithaca Voice
Cause of Chapter House fire not declared; avoid area – The cause of the fire remains undetermined. Ithaca Voice
Ithaca moves to fundraise for The Chapter House, help victims of fire – There are several ongoing fundraising campaigns to help The Chapter House and residents of the buildings destroyed in a fire early Tuesday morning. Ithaca Voice
Smoke from fire at The Chapter House visible from Ithaca College – Smoke from the fire at The Chapter House in Ithaca’s Collegetown Tuesday morning could be seen from as far away as South Hill. Ithaca Voice
Ithaca officials begin to evaluate extent of damage to The Chapter House – “…There was fire blowing out the front windows of the bar.” Ithaca Voice
About 30 Cornell students affected by Chapter House fire taken to Barton Hall – The university will seek to provide accommodations and housing for all the students affected by the blaze. Ithaca Voice