FARGO — Fargo city leaders say they are expediting the demolition process of the vacant Mid America Steel Plant after a second suspicious fire. The first fire on March 22 at the main building was ruled arson.
The cause of last night's fire is still under investigation, but there's no power on site. The building that burned was located near the main building that burned three weeks ago. More than a dozen buildings make up the 116-year-old plant site.
"The building is not very secure, even though we have placed fencing around," said Planning and Development Assistant Director Mark Williams.
The city of Fargo's finance committee sent out a clear message to expedite getting proposals to demolish the building as soon as possible.
The plant has been vacant for more than a year and is owned by the city, which wants to redevelop the property. They had hoped to recoup some of the demolition before starting the process.
There have been some potential buyers who discussed taking the property as is. That's why the City Commission said they have not been in a rush to deal with the abandoned plant.
Another reason is the cost, which is expected to be close to half a million dollars. But with two fires in three weeks, Commissioner Dave Piepkorn says once all the bids are in, the commission is likely to approve the lowest bid right away to get the plant down.
"Its gotten to the point where you've got to say no, it's all just got to go now," said Piepkorn. "It put firefighter lives in jeopardy."
The city hopes to have a solid demo timeline by midweek next week. Until it's knocked down, the Fargo Police Department says they will increase patrols around the complex.