Whitman County Gazette - Serving Whitman County since 1877

Model Home Furnishings, Lewiston

By Garth Meyer
Gazette Reporter 

County begins work to repair new transfer station after fire

 

August 9, 2018 | View PDF

The center section of the east side of the transfer building, which was made up of translucent panels, was burned out by the fire last Friday.

Whitman County Commissioners declared a state of emergency Monday for the Waste Transfer Station south of Colfax, to expedite repair after a fire damaged one wall and the ceiling of the three-year-old building early on the morning of Aug. 3.

The state of emergency allows for county Public Works to bypass state bidding laws to hire a contractor as soon as possible.

On Monday, Public Works Director Mark Storey called contractors and county consulting engineer Evan Laubach of Reliant Engineering in Pullman to develop a list of needs in order to repair the building.

On Tuesday, Lance Holcomb of Holcomb General Contracting, Inc., Grangeville, Idaho, was available to peel back damaged, burnt metal around the building's structural columns.

Behlen Building Systems, the company which manufactured the damaged pieces, has given word it can re-make the items in two to three weeks.

"I would like to be back in the building in October," said Storey. "I don't know if that's doable or not."

As for the structure, the heat of the fire – started by something smoldering in a load of garbage – went up the wall and into the roof.

"Part of one of the main load-carrying frames is twisted metal, it turned white hot, so that we can't count on it, the structural integrity," Storey said.

The frame – a big, upside down "U"-shaped beam – is made of structural steel. Much of the roofing sheeting, also steel, will need to be removed and probably replaced.

Also on the list of damage is electrical work. The weigh scales are not working, insulation needs to be replaced in the roof and an inspection is needed on the crane.

"It got torched a little bit by the fire too," said Storey.

A total of 40 percent of the building's lighting was destroyed or damaged beyond repair.

The building is insured.

Will it all be covered?

"It's an assumption until we get through the process," said Storey. "We've been in contact, and they are responding favorably."

With the new building out of use, its purpose of handling all garbage will revert back to the old building, which has just been handling recycling for the past three years.

It will now again handle both garbage and recycling in four slots. The new building had added seven more, for garbage alone.

See fire story in Bulletin Column, page 7A.

 
 
McGregor Co.

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