DOH to Remove ‘Imminent Threat’ to Road

Work to demolish a dilapidated house that is leaning into Stone Church Road is expected to occur sometime this month by the West Virginia Division of Highways.

Concerns about the house, located at 366 Stone Church Road, were voiced last February by Marshall County resident John Toth, who said it appeared the home was about to collapse onto the steep and narrow roadway.

”My concern is the people traveling up and down that hill with the potential of that sidewall falling out of that house. Every day that heavy traffic travels up and down that road. … The vibrations are there, and sooner or later the way the wind comes out of the west, something is going to happen. We have five school buses a day that travel up and down that hill. And my grandchildren are on one of those buses,” Toth said at that time.

During that same Ohio County Commission meeting, Commissioner Tim McCormick said the state DOH already was aware of the situation and planned to send the property owner a letter about it.

”Our legal division went to court and tried to get the owner to remove it, but they were not able to,” said DOH District 6 Engineer Dan Sikora.

Because the legal action did not work, the DOH plans to use its District Forces workers to tear down the building. Sikora believes the owner may have tried to do some demolition himself but was unsuccessful. DOH Maintenance Engineer Paul Hicks said Thursday at minimum, the structure’s leaning wall will be pushed in by the end of this month.

”At least that way the imminent threat will be gone,” Hicks said.

He noted the workers who must do the work are currently on a timely roadwork job in Wetzel County.

And they also are the back-up drivers for the snow plows.

”We also need to clean up around it before demolition. … There are some items that need sorted out, like tires,” Hicks said, noting some items can be recycled.

Commissioners during a recent meeting approved contributing money toward the tipping fee to help cover the cost of taking the debris to the landfill.

”The county commission partnered with us on the disposal costs. They’ve taken a proactive step,” he added.

According to information from the Wheeling-Ohio County Health Department, the property is owned by James L. Scott. There is no telephone listing available for Scott.

The health department’s report on the building noted Scott told sanitarians he planned to have the structure razed as soon as a lawsuit related to the house was settled. The report also noted the building’s roof was damaged and that it did have some structural concerns.