The former industrial plant was unoccupied and was being prepared for use in a plastic recycling project when it caught fire on Jan. 31. The main building was destroyed by the fire, but two auxiliary buildings at the site -- one attached to the main building -- are still standing.
The property owner is Robert Gootman, of Florence, S.C. In a February interview, Gootman said the building was purchased by his limited liability corporation, Cedarburg Rigging LLC. Gootman also operates Lion Chemical Laboratories Inc. in Florence.
Cedartown Fire and Rescue officials said the fire apparently was ignited by a crew, hired by Gootman, that was cutting out pipe in the building. The pipe apparently contained residue of some kind of oil and was ignited by a cutting torch, fire officials said.
Gootman hired a clean-up crew and a lot of work has been done at the site. However, insulation has been left stacked up for weeks and has blown off the property into other areas of the industrial park, Cedartown Commissioner Scotty Tillery complained Monday.
Tillery brought the issue to the commission during it's regular monthly meeting Monday night. He asked that the city proceed with legal action, as nothing appears to have been done at the site for a couple of months, he said.
Under the advice of the city attorney, the commission voted to first issue a letter to Gootman demanding that he clean the "non-mansonry debris," to include the insulation, within 10 days. The property owner also is ordered to erect a fence on the open side of the property.
The property is fenced on three sides. However, one side of the former industrial property had been secured by a wall of the building that burned. With the building gone, the site is unsecured on one side, city officials said. While the clean-up efforts proceed, the city wants a fence erected on the open side of the property.
In addition, the city will order the property owner to obtain an inspection report from a qualified structural engineer, if the owner wishes to retain two auxiliary buildings still standing at the site.
One of the buildings was attached to the main building that was destroyed, and it shows signs of possible heat damage, Tillery said.
"If the buildings are found to be structurally sound, he will need to bring them up to code," Tillery added.
The motion passed unanimously by the commission to send the letter and to pursue a court order if the cleanup effort does not resume.