Workers begin demolition work on fire-ravaged Bothell Mall building

BOTHELL  -   Six weeks after a devastating fire destroyed the Bothell Mall, crews are starting to demolish what's left.

Today, crews brought in backhoes and other heavy equipment to start the process.  Tomorrow morning, workers will have more heavy equipment on site, to demolish the building’s remnants.

The owner of the mall hired a contractor to take down the building destroyed in this summer’s Main Street fire.  Flames tore through the city's historic Mercantile Building July 22nd.  The fire quickly spread to the mall, damaging several businesses, including the popular “Kozy Kafe.”

This week's demolition is considered the responsibility of the property owner, after the city issued an abatement order which required it.

Today, workers started the process of asbestos remediation, or cleaning up, asbestos inside the building.

“Whenever you do demolition, you have to remove the asbestos-containing material first, and then you're allowed to just demolish the building,” said Bothell Deputy Fire Chief and Fire Marshal Frank Shaska.  "There's an asbestos abatement contractor on-site and they're pulling that material off."

The building and debris still at the site will likely be removed as soon as Friday.

After the debris is removed, the city says the section of 102nd Avenue which has been closed until now, just northeast of the 102nd Avenue Bridge, will reopen.

The city says the demolition is a complex undertaking, because of the presence of asbestos in the building.

It requires permits to be issued and insurance.  There are also concerns about how close the building is to the street.

The contractor is being asked, if possible, to salvage and clean the asbestos from any personal effects left in the building.

The city says demolition of the building and reopening of 102nd Ave. N.E. are high priorities, especially with school resuming.