A year ago in August, at the corner of Third and Atchison streets, flames roared through two businesses and damaged an adjacent church facility on Wednesday morning, Aug. 13, halting traffic in both directions on Highway 108. Several engines from the nearby Stanislaus Consolidated Fire District station, just blocks away, responded but the two stores were consumed by the fire and the church building received damage to its roof and walls.
As of last week, more than a year after the multi-alarm fire, not much has changed on the site which, combined, takes up a quarter of the block opposite the Del Rio Theatre. It is immediately adjacent to what used to be called the Ditman Apartments on the corner of Third and Topeka streets. The apartment building was extensively damaged by fire in January of 2006. Repairs have yet to be finished on the apartment buildings as well.
According to city building department officials, at first, progress on repairs to the mini-market were hindered by the fact that the three entities each had a different insurance company handling their claims.
While the insurance companies have settled, officials said, asbestos was discovered in the buildings and bids are now being gathered to find a contractor with the proper permits and experience in dealing with this hazardous material. When the asbestos has been cleaned up, a demolition company is poised to begin tearing down the buildings.
In the meantime, chain link fences surround the three structures, in addition to the fence around the apartment building, leaving nearly half the block, stretching from Topeka to Atchison streets and from Third halfway to Second Street in downtown Riverbank, chained off to the public.