Glass was cleared from the sidewalk and the window frame quickly boarded up after a window blew out of the building at 215-217 Second St. Friday, according to Marietta’s safety-service director. But it’s not the first time window glass has fallen from that building.
“It was taken care of Friday afternoon. I received a call about the fallen glass late that morning and then I contacted city fire inspector Rich Stewart and the streets department about the situation,” said safety-service director Jonathan Hupp.
He said Stewart examined the broken window and contacted building owner John Hendricks who had the window boarded up by Friday afternoon.
Glass also fell from another window in the building more than a year ago, and at the time Hendricks told a Marietta Times reporter he realized the situation could be a safety hazard and had that window repaired, too.
Hupp said when such incidents occur the city notifies the property owner who generally takes care of the problem.
“We have safety standards we attempt to follow, and when something like this occurs we try to remediate the problem,” he said. “But it’s also a matter of personal responsibility. This is (Hendricks’) building, and up to this point he’s been very fortunate that no one has been hurt.”
The building currently houses two businesses on the first floor, Kelley Ink Tattoos and Piercings, and Rodgers Imaging. The second floor is a residential apartment.
There are a total of 80 windows in the building, and 26 have been boarded up or at least partially boarded up.
Hendricks did not return phone calls to his residence Wednesday.
The Riverside Artists Gallery is located next door to the 215-217 Second St. building, and member Jane Ryals learned about the fallen window as she arrived at the gallery Friday.
“They were already upstairs fixing the window when I arrived,” she said. “Part of the charm of Marietta is its many preserved old buildings, and when you have older buildings with older windows I think you have to make some allowances that such incidents could occur.”
Russ Mercer, manager of Pastime Bowling Lanes just south of the 215-217 Second St. building, said he’s heard no concerns about glass falling from that facility.
“I can understand, but I’m not concerned, and nobody has been speaking about it,” he said. “But there are a lot worse buildings in town than the one next door.”
Marietta Law Director Paul Bertram III said if a building is determined to be a public hazard and the owner refuses to remedy the problem the city has the authority under Ohio Revised Code to take court action against the property owner.
“The city has occasionally done that in the past, but most property owners have complied when told that a safety problem exists,” he said.
Bertram noted that weather likely played a part in the loss of the window at 215-217 Second St. as high winds were forecast on Friday.
“Sometimes high winds can blow into older buildings, which can cause a vacuum to form that may blow windows out of the structure,” he said, adding the owner should have someone check the windows when high winds are expected.
Second Ward Councilman Mike McCauley said several of the building’s windows, front and back, have been missing for some time.
“The wind blew pretty hard (Thursday) night, and I thought (Hendricks) had fixed all of the windows on the back of the building,’ he said. “Pigeons used to fly in and out of the open windows, so it’s possible a bird could have flown into one of the windows and broke the glass.”
McCauley said the Hendricks building probably dates back to the early 1900s with thin window panes that could also work loose and easily fall when struck by high winds.
He noted the city has updated its property maintenance code, and is ready to hire a property maintenance code enforcement officer who would be responsible for ensuring that buildings in the city are kept up to standards and do not pose a public safety hazard.
The code enforcement officer post, approved by council last fall, has not yet been filled.