The building was known as Chet’s Cleaners from the late 1960s until 2003. The city acquired the property in 2003 and in 2005, ownership of the building changed and was used as a residential property. It was sold to its current owner, Mirek Kupczynski, in 2009.
City code enforcement officials determined the building was unsafe in March 2016 and asked Kupczynski to either repair or demolish the building. According to the report, Kupczynski did not comply with the order.
The building caught fire at the end of August, the report says, and the city fire department considered the incident suspicious. Travis Poole, a fire investigator, says in the report that he believes the fire was set intentionally.
Since the property was used as a dry cleaner and leather processing facility in the past, there is a possibility of chemical contamination. City Manager Jeff Dygert says in the report that officials are unsure if contamination is present but are concerned since old dry cleaners typically used chemicals in their processes. He also says that if any contamination, such as asbestos or lead, is found in the building that “special processes” would need to take place before demolition.
There have been no estimates collected for the demolition, the report says, but city council says in the report that costs would drain the city’s demolition funds for the year. The timeline for demolition would depend on the court’s decision and any action from Kupczynski.
The case was expected to be heard in Auburn City Court at 1 p.m. on Sept. 19, the report says.