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Tiger Metals scrapped

After years of being considered an eyesore and safety hazard by city officials, the former Tiger Metals building has been demolished.

"The city has been trying to get it torn down for at least 5 years," City Engineer Joe McCallister said. "The roof was lying in the street every time we had a wind storm."

Mayor Bob Cleary said the property, located on Second Street spanning the block between Walnut and Mulberry streets,

is one of 12 beautification projects funded by the Community Demolition Program. Earlier this year, the Ironton City Council allocated $63,000 for this program.

Demolition of the structure on the 37,000-square-foot lot began the first week of November and should be completed within the next 10 days. Distel Construction of Portsmouth is contracted for the job that cost the city $14,400, Karl Wentz, Ironton building officer, said.

Cleary said that even though the city does not own the property that it was well worth the cost to remove the public safety hazard.

"This site has been a constant maintenance problem for the city to keep secured," he said. "It has taken a lot of hard work and effort, but removing it will be a real benefit to the community."

A couple of children got into the building about two years ago and were exposed to potentially hazardous chemicals. Although no serious injuries occurred, the children were taken to the fire station and decontaminated, Cleary said.

Built in 1950, the building has been home to many businesses through the years. Although unsure of the original tenant, it became Clark Wire Company in the late 1950s,

Wentz said.

The building later housed Gulf Chemicals and was most recently Tiger Metals, owned by Tiger Services Inc. based out of Chicago, Ind. Tiger Metals was a metal processing plant that closed down about 15 years, Wentz said.

Wentz said the dilapidated building was probably the worst site in Ironton in terms of posing a health and safety hazard.

In 1992, representatives from the federal and state Environmental Protection Agency evaluated the site and told Tiger Services that the building should be demolished. Some hazardous material including cadmium, lead and ammonia were removed from the site at this time. Currently, some hazardous materials still are stored on site in a storage container that must be removed by a certified company within six months, Wentz said.

The seven drums of granular material that consists mostly of fire bricks from the kilns and also three containers of an unknown liquid will be tested before they can be disposed.

Before the actual demolition could begin, the company filed bankruptcy. The building has sat abandoned ever since, Wentz said.

Although Tiger Services is still involved in a bankruptcy suit, company President Ed Front agreed to allow the city to tear down the building, Cleary said.

The future of the Tiger Metals site is still unclear but the city is not really interested in purchasing it, Cleary said.

"Anyone who purchases the site will also purchase the future contamination problems that come with it," he said. "I do not think I would want to have the city become responsible for the property."