La Salle seeks court order to speed up KFC demolition

City will take over demolition if KFC doesn’t meet timeline

Update: KFC in La Salle begins installing fence

The city of La Salle completed paperwork to have a court order ready to take over the demolition of a KFC restaurant that burned down in June, should it be needed.

KFC has ownership of the grounds where the building stands and is in charge of demolishing it. Building Inspector Andy Bacidore said the court order is a proactive measure, and the city will not need to interfere if KFC continues with the demolition schedule as planned.

According to a statement from KFC, the company has to wait to continue demolition until the fire investigation and report is complete.

“The franchisee is not permitted to access the property and start demolition until the fire investigation and review are complete and the report is shared with the franchisee,” said a KFC spokesperson. “The franchisee has not received the report from the review, which happened recently.”

The cause of the fire still is under investigation.

Bacidore said it’s not usual for demolition projects like this to take a while to begin. Bacidore said delays are often caused by issues with the landfill and where to dump the rubble. In this case, there’s a two-week process where debris is sampled for heavy metal and certain toxins. Once cleared, demolition can begin.

According to Bacidore, KFC is getting the sampling process underway but it has not begun. Because the building poses a threat to public safety, the city is preparing to get a court order in case KFC takes longer to demolish the building than the city deems acceptable.

If KFC hasn’t begun the sampling process in the next few weeks, the city will get involved and file for the court order to tear it down.

Another reason the city is prepared to get a court order is because of a delay in installing a protective fence around the KFC. KFC ordered a fence to keep people from going near the building and said it would be installed by Aug. 12 or 15, according to Mayor Jeff Grove. That fence has not been installed, and Bacidore said he’s had no communication with KFC since Thursday, Aug. 11.

Because the fencing isn’t installed, the city issued KFC a citation Tuesday for an insecure and unstable building. Bacidore said his main priority is securing the building and maintaining safety, and then bringing the building down as soon as possible.

“The No. 1 focus is public safety,” Grove said. “Right now, people can easily access the area, which is a problem.”

KFC began demolition briefly in late July. Since then, there has been no visible action to continue to clear the rubble. Grove said KFC still intends to rebuild in the same spot.