A 45-foot tall brick chimney beside the central firehouse is beginning to tilt.
Though it’s got a long way to go before it matches the Leaning Tower of Pisa, it’s leaning far enough to worry city officials who are racing to have it knocked down before it comes down on its own.
“It could be dangerous,” said city Councilor Cliff Block.
Fire Chief Jon Pose said that he noticed several weeks ago that “a distinct tilt” had afflicted the half century old chimney on the north side of the firehouse.
The freestanding chimney is connected by a single metal pipe to the firehouse itself. An emergency generator sits right beside it.
At this point, Pose said, the chimney is 8 inches off center, but there’s concern that it could creep further sideways.
“The base of the chimney is crumbling,” Pose said.
The city’s purchasing agent, Roger Rousseau, is soliciting bids to take down the chimney.
“Before it falls down, we’re going to tear it down,” Pose said.
It will likely be replaced by a power vent on the side of the firehouse that can serve the same function for a fraction of the cost of building a new chimney.
Public Works Director Walter Veselka said that when the chimney is removed this spring, the city will try to preserve as many bricks from it as possible to use for future renovations of the firehouse.
That way, Pose said, any bricks that have to be replaced can match the ones that have been there since the 1960s.
Veselka said that saving bricks will add a little bit to the cost, but it’s worth it.
The fire board and the city’s building committee each agreed this week to proceed with the chimney’s removal.
Copyright 2009. All rights reserved.
Contact Steve Collins at firstname.lastname@example.org