Almost eight months after an early morning fire in an apartment building at 11th and Benton sent three people to area hospitals with injuries, demolition contractors arrived on site.
They began knocking the dilapidated building down on July 26. According to the backhoe operator, after his first strike against the building, onlookers burst into cheers and applause.
The building has long been an issue for neighbors. In terms of attracting squatters and transients who lit fires to keep warm, endangering nearby structures. At the time of the fire last January it was being used as a transitional living facility for those leaving halfway houses.
According to witness accounts, fire was reported at 1102-1104 Benton Boulevard at approximately 12:33 a.m. on January 13.
In May, Rodney Boyles, 35, was charged with one count of arson in a criminal complaint filed in U.S. District Court. Witnesses at the building stated Boyles lived in the building with his girlfriend and her son at the time of the fire.
Knockdown should be completed this week. Officials with Midland Wrecking Company out of Kansas City, Kan., indicated that salvage operations would continue, salvaging brick, limestone and other items from the structure.