New Stable Inn training fire put on back burner

Posted April 08, 2010, at 10:04 p.m.

BREWER, Maine — Plans to burn down the dilapidated New Stable Inn on Wilson Street in firefighter training this weekend have been extinguished for now.

“We have to run some more tests on the building and make sure we are ready for a safe burn,” said Zach Means, son of the new property owner.

The state Department of Environmental Protection has asked that some metals within the building be removed or separated before the structure is burned or demolished, said City Manager Steve Bost.

“We’re still evaluating the best way to have the owner take the building down,” he said. “It may be in the end that we demolish it. We should know by Friday.”

The 69-room inn closed Jan. 25 after high winds ripped off a portion of its roof. City officials ordered it evacuated until the damage was repaired. Three weeks later, owner Farhat Cheema of Massachusetts failed to pay his mortgage, and Paul Means of Means Investment Co. of Bangor ended up holding the note.

The property now is listed by Means under Twin City Rodeways Inc.

Zach Means is the son of Paul Means. He said no decisions have been made about what to do with the property once the building is gone.

“There is a possibility that a new hotel will be built, but it will not be Twin City Rodeways doing the construction,” he said.

City councilors, during their Tuesday meeting, agreed to forgive $45,000 of the more than $76,000 in back taxes and unpaid utility bills owed by Cheema, and to split the cost of removing any debris or ash that remains after the building is burned.

If the structure is not burned, “We will probably assist in taking the building down and moving [the debris] to an appropriate landfill,” Bost said. “The plans to take the building down have not changed. It’s timing and method at this point.”

Public works crews began tearing down portions of the old inn on Wednesday.

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