Lock Haven Tearing Down Fire-gutted Building

LOCK HAVEN, Pa. -- Demolition is underway on an old furniture store in Clinton County. Crews started tearing down the former Wolfe Furniture store in Lock Haven Tuesday.

The city of Lock Haven is paying to demolish the old furniture store, but it doesn't own the lot yet.

According to the city, ownership could change once demolition is done.

A few times a year, Lou Bernard will take groups on a history of Lock Haven walking tour.

The former Wolfe Furniture Store on Bellefonte Avenue wasn't one of his stops on this day, but he does know quite a bit about its history.

"That location though, I think the building was modified, was the home of the Clinton County Times. We're going as far as 1901," Bernard said.

"I feel like I don't even remember it even being used growing up. It was kind of one of those empty buildings that just sat," said Jordan Barler.

But Jordan Barler from Lock Haven does remember when the building caught fire in December of 2016.

"The flames were so high. I thought for sure that it would have been torn down, that the whole thing would have been ruined, but when you walk by it, doesn't really look any different," Barler said.

That is, unless you take a look from the back of the building.

A nearly $65,000 demolition project began this week.

According to city codes, Lock Haven waited more than a year after the fire for the owners of the building to make repairs. When they didn't, the city jumped in and contracted a crew from Port Carbon to tear it down.

"Had to happen. I would have loved to see it saved somehow, but the damage was too bad," Bernard said.

Workers tell Newswatch 16 the site should be cleared by the end of the month. As for what happens to the lot then, it's still to be determined.

"I hope that there's a good business, maybe a nice restaurant because we don't have many out here," said Barler.

Once the demolition is done, Lock Haven officials plan to put a lien on the property. Within a year, if the owners don't pay back the lien, the city could hold a special tax sale to regain the money it's using to demolish the building.