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Klotz building demolished by Utica DPW crews*

By By ANDREW DONOVAN

UTICA, N.Y. (WKTV) - The smell of ash and must filled the air Saturday morning as the James Street apartment building where four people died in a massive fire was torn down.

City demolition crews used heavy machinery to tear down the rubble at 102 James Street after property owner Timothy Klotz missed the deadline to do so himself.

Demolition work is complete but the pile of debris still has to be removed and that will take place over the next week.

The city has its own demolition team, led by Rich Conte who says this tear down presents its own challenges. Conte said, "there are two major challenges. One is the building has been burned, which makes the structure unsound. The other is the outside of the building is a block building which adds difficulty. Block doesn't always go where you want it to go, so you have to go much slower to do a block building."

Landlord Timothy Klotz was ordered by the City of Utica to tear down the building following the fire. City officials said that although the building was still standing, it posed a health risk to the public. The city has said in the past that the demolition bill will be charged to Klotz and could cost up to $60,000.

Klotz missed the first deadline in January to remove the building and then missed a more recent deadline of April 16.

The building was destroyed on September 20, 2009 when four people died in a massive fire at the property. 24-year-old Douglas Crane, 28-year-old Terry Singh, 44-year-old Glenard Drake and 41-year-old Bruce Bush were all found dead in their apartment units following the blaze. Several people were also left homeless.

The landlord of the building, Timothy Klotz, took a lot of criticism following the fire. He never registered the building with the City of Utica after he was ordered by a judge to do so in 2008. Since Klotz did not comply, the city never got to do an inspection.

In the days following the fire, Utica Fire Chief Russell Brooks said that the city had no procedure in place to follow up when a land lord does not comply with a judge's order to register a building.

*CLICK GALLERY AT LEFT FOR 40 PHOTOS.

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