Sands-Dorsey receives structural, safety review

By Chelle Delaney: Quay County Sun

A structural engineer surveyed the fire damage at the burned out Sands-Dorsey Building on Thursday.

One of the first issues to address is stabilizing the building, said Sonya Cooper, a construction engineer and professor at New Mexico State University at Las Cruces.

Cooper was brought in through the state’s MainStreet program which is affiliated with the National Trust for Historic Preservation. Tucumcari became a MainStreet project in October. The program assists communities through its professional expertise to redevelop and revitalize their downtown areas.

The building’s parapet, the upper layer of bricks near what was the roof, have been compromised in certain areas, said Cooper.
So that is one of the immediate concerns, Cooper said.

“It’s unsafe to work in there,” she said.

Roof and floor beams which were tied to the walls that are closest to the alley on Second Street and gave the building support were burned out.

Cooper was accompanied by Jean Fulton, preservation programs coordinator for Cornerstones Community Partnership of Santa Fe.
“This is one of those buildings you want to do everything to save,” said Fulton. “They don’t build them like they used to.”
Fulton said Cornerstones is a group that can assist in getting grants and other funding to renovate, restore or develop a plan for older structures when they are owned by the public.

Cooper said she would have her report soon regarding the building that would indicate what emergency measures may need to be taken and a long range comprehensive plan for the building.

Examining and working with the building is a process. Further studies should be completed before a decision is made, Cooper and Fulton said.

Patrick Vanderpool, executive director of the Greater Tucumcari Economic Development Corp., Danielle Gallegos of the GTED, Cathy Estrada, the city’s code enforcement officer, and the building’s owner, Bob Hengstenberg, were at the building for the engineer’s site visit.

Vanderpool said he was optimistic.

The cost of fighting the fire, which burned from June 8 through June 10, was $1,500 for one million gallons of water and $1,000 in chemical foam, said city officials.