AUGUSTA — A Patterson Street house with a collapsed foundation was demolished recently by the city out of concern it could fall over onto a neighbor’s driveway, another neighbor’s house, or the public street and sidewalk.

Now city councilors will be asked to officially declare the now-demolished home a dangerous building.

Robert Overton, the city’s director of code enforcement, said the 43 Patterson St. home was vacant and appeared to be leaning downhill, toward and in close proximity to neighboring properties. It was deemed by a structural engineer to be in imminent danger of collapsing.

“You could see right through the foundation,” Overton said of the home. “It had some significant structural issues.”

The two-story house, according to city assessing records, was built in 1900 and is assessed for tax purposes at $75,900.

Overton said the interior of the home had also been gutted, including removal of what had been a load-bearing wall from the first floor which, in turn, caused a girder which ran the length of the home, which was supporting the second floor, to fail.


State law allows municipalities to tear down a structure even before a governing body has declared it dangerous if officials verify it is a danger to the public, Overton said.

City Manager William Bridgeo said city councilors are scheduled to vote Thursday to validate the actions city staff took last week by formally declaring the building to be dangerous. Bridgeo noted the action to demolish the building was taken on his authority, and after consultation with the city attorney.

The remains of a recently demolished building at 43 Patterson St. in Augusta are seen Wednesday. Kennebec Journal photo by Joe Phelan

Overton said he was at a neighboring property, with police and firefighters, when they noticed the 43 Patterson St. building’s foundation had almost completely collapsed inwards. They checked to see if it was occupied, which it was not, and noticed both the front and back doors were unsecured and open.

Overton, after alerting other city officials to the situation, had a structural engineer from Coffin Engineering come check out the structure, and he verified city officials’ concerns that it was in imminent danger of collapse.

Quirion Construction was hired and demolished the structure on Thursday, Feb. 13, leaving the demolition debris on the site. Overton said it would be the responsibility of the owner, James A. Trainor, to remove the debris but the city would work with him to give him time to remove the debris from the property.

When Overton reached Trainor by phone he came to the property, and Overton said he seemed understanding about the city’s actions.


Overton said the home is close to, and if it collapsed could have fallen onto, the city street and sidewalk, one neighbor’s driveway, or another neighbor’s home.

Trainor, who also owns the adjacent 45 Patterson St., could not immediately be reached for comment Wednesday.

The remains of recently a demolished building at 43 Patterson St. in Augusta are seen Wednesday. Kennebec Journal photo by Joe Phelan

Overton said it is rare for the city to take such action and it does so only when a building is determined to pose a risk to the public. The last he recalled was a building at 58 Mount Vernon Ave. that was sliding off its foundation.

Councilors are scheduled to consider approving an order declaring the Patterson Street home a dangerous building at their 7 p.m. Thursday meeting in council chambers at Augusta City Center. Councilors are also scheduled to:

• Hear a report on the annual audit of city and school finances.

• Consider approving council goals for this year.

• Authorize the Police Department to accept $6,260 forfeited as part of a criminal case investigated by the department.

• Direct the city clerk to prepare for a special election June 9.

• Meet in a closed-door session to discuss a real estate matter.

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