Bigler also accused the code department of being unprofessional and said that she and her husband were not notified that the building would be condemned. She told the committee that they have a business line with an answering machine. "No one called us," she said.
Code Enforcement Officer/Supervisor Jeff Helm said the decision was initially prompted by Code Officer Robert Osborne's inspection, in order to protect the borough from liability. (Osborne has since been terminated from employment with the borough code department.)
Helm told the committee that he inspected the exterior of the building on June 15, 2015, accompanied by Osborne and engineer William Sauers, who was then employed by the borough. Helm said that he and the others walked around the building and found exterior bulging walls and concluded that the building should be condemned and vacated in a timely fashion.
Helm further explained that on June 26, 2015, Sauers and Sam Bigler entered the property and conducted a room-by-room and floor-by-floor inspection, looking especially for separations of interior/exterior walls. Sauers found unsupported areas on the second floor that required remediation, and his opinion was to vacate. Bigler opted for a third-party inspection by Sanchez & Associates of Millersville.
The borough subsequently suggested that the Biglers select an engineer with knowledge of older structures. The Biglers hired engineer Dan Fichtner, who determined that the building could remain occupied if the interior were re-supported. Fichtner did not believe it was structurally unsound.
Bigler requested that the committee waive the $600 bill for the borough engineer. Councillor Mary Barninger said that she agreed with Bigler's request and made a motion to send the issue to council at its May 9 meeting. Council President Kelly Murphy seconded the motion. Councillor Sherry Welsh, who was substituting for Councillor Cleon Berntheizel, opposed it.
Notice of Condemnation at the Avenue G property, prior to the September 4, 2015 fire.