Preparations begin for Georgetown demolition

By Audrey Wise

May 19, 2014 Updated May 19, 2014 at 10:38 PM CDT

WASHINGTON, Ill. -- Six months ago a deadly tornado carved a large swath of destruction through central Illinois, including the Georgetown Common Apartments in Washington.

Fast forward six months, structures that used to be people's homes remain piles of rubble, but that is about to change.

Several residents went to Georgetown Common Apartments Monday for a final look.

A worker with the demolition crew from Iron Hustlers Excavating said they are working with Ameren and the city to prepare the site.

They expect to start tearing down the buildings Tuesday.

Several former residents came to the site Monday for closure.

"See if there's a chance I could maybe get back in my apartment. There's a lot of my stuff in there,we didn't get much stuff out." said Tom Newman.

"My wife just wants to end the thoughts of 'is there something I can do to get it out?" said Calvin Hall.

Hall and Newman expect to come back Tuesday for the start of demolition.

Iron Hustlers expects to take about two months to clear away the rubble and all the personal items along with it.

While many neighbors are happy to see movement in the cleanup progress, it now creates a new problem.

Georgetown Common has likely become the new home for vermin.

Residents fear the animals will migrate to their homes once the debris is removed.

City officials say they did address the issue with the contractor and animal control.

But say it is hard to know just how severe the problem is until they start removing debris. Once they know exactly what they are dealing with... they will take the proper steps to resolve it.

"There's stuff over there eating the food that was left behind. There's going to be coyotes over there trying to eat the animals over there eating the food. There are kids in the neighborhood and we don't need that running through the neighborhood.. coyotoes, coons -- coons carry rabies. That's not good," said Doug Smay, who lives across from Georgetown Apartments.

"They're gonna be able to handle some of them, but they aren't going to be able to handle all the rats and possums. When they start tearing them down they're just going to scatter," said another neighbor, Harley Crummett.

Animal Control will have an officer in the area Tuesday when demolition starts... and will place traps at residents request to catch feral cats.

The owner of Iron Hustler told Mayor Gary Manier that he has dealt with situations like this before and will be keeping a close eye on what comes out of the apartments.