HUNTINGDON COUNTY, Pa. (WTAJ) – Inside the charred apartments of Blair House, life comes to a standstill. Cereal boxes sit on kitchen tables, but no one has lived there since the first major fire in May 2020.
The building suffered a second fire almost exactly one year later in 2021.
Now the borough of Huntingdon has said it’s time for life to move on.
Despite a hearing on the “dangerous structure” on the bridge on April 19, 2022, Jim Morris, Zoning and Code Enforcement Officer for the Borough of Huntingdon, said the structure was stable.
“We wanted to make sure the building was safe and had no chance of collapsing, so we have engineers on site now and they give us a monthly report to basically address our concerns,” Morris said. .
In the eyes of the public, it may not look like there has been any progress at the Blair House apartments, but Morris said they are in constant communication with the landlord and changes are afoot.
“She also wants the building restored to exactly how it was before the fire,” Morris said. “The borough thinks it’s a win-win situation for everyone.”
The Blair House apartments housed 59 elderly and disabled community members.
“Since then, there was a shortage of these types of rentals in the borough,” Morris said.
Since the building is structurally sound, Morris said they would not demolish it, but would empty the interior which is still full of damaged furniture.
“Then they will start from scratch indoors, while respecting today’s codes,” Morris said.
It is estimated to be a project of approximately $10 million.
“This project costs residents absolutely nothing,” Morris said. “All of this is a private entity.”
Designs are currently being planned.
“We hope it was completed two years ago after it burned down, but unfortunately we’ve been through a lot,” Morris said. “We deal with different agencies, we deal with different insurance companies, and it all takes a lot of time.”
Morris said they hope to have a new roof on the building by October 2022, to prevent further damage to the interior and make the Blair House a home again.