SHELBY – Structural engineers are designing demolition specifications for the downtown Shelby commercial property burned during a large structural fire in August.

Project Coordinator Joe Gies said the city is working with the Richland County Land Bank to begin the process of demolishing what remains of the 50/52 E. Main St. property.

‘A whole city block may have burned’

During the early hours of Aug. 31, a crew from the Shelby Fire Department was dispatched to a working fire with heavy conditions, Chief Mike Thompson told Richland Source in August.

“The building experienced total loss, the interior collapsed,” Thompson said. “The roof and second floor are on the first floor.”


If not for the response by the Shelby Fire Department and surrounding mutual aid, Thompson feared a whole city block may have burned.

“The responding crew did one heck of a job,” Thompson said. “It was a tremendous amount of fire, and they held it pretty much to one building.”

Fire damage
50/52 E. Main St. sustained heavy damage from a large structure fire, which broke out Aug. 31.

Structural engineers working on specifications for demolition

Gies said city officials met on-site Monday with an engineer to inspect the property and discover what structural connections exist between 50/52 E. Main. St. and the neighboring buildings.

“They (Richland County Land Bank) had an engineer come up to the site,” Gies said. “They’ll help design the specifications for tearing that (50/52 E. Main St.) down.”

Shelby enters contract with Richland County Land Bank

In September, Shelby City Council passed a resolution declaring the structure’s remains to be, “insecure, unsafe, structurally defective, and dangerous to life and other property.”

Additionally, the resolution directed Shelby Mayor Steve Schag to enter into a contract with the Richland County Land Bank regarding the property’s demolition.


Gies told councilmembers in September the property owner would be given a 30-day time period to notify the city of a professionally designed plan to either fix or demolish the structure.

According to the Richland County Auditor’s website, 50/52 E. Main St. is owned by Charles Warfel.

The responsibility of demolition costs will be placed on the property owner’s taxes, Gies said.

“If he (Warfel) doesn’t pay it (demolition costs), then the county can foreclose the property,” he said.

The Shelby Fire Department received mutual aid from Shiloh, Springfield Township, and Madison Township to help fight the blaze.

Demolition will be ‘extremely complicated’

Amy Hamrick, Richland County Land Bank executive director, said she’s currently working on demolitions specifications with structural engineers and contractors.

“It’s going to be an extremely complicated demolition,” Hamrick said. “It’s (commercial property) in such a touchy area.”

Warfel’s property is situated between the Shelby Fraternal Order of Eagles building, 46 E. Main St., and 54/56 E. Main St. which is owned by local real estate agent Adam Thornton.

No businesses currently operate out of Thornton’s property, he told Richland Source in August. 

However, Thornton said he’s hoping to bring two new businesses to the building before the end of the year.

Richland County Land Bank will request estimates for demolition

Hamrick said the land bank will be requesting estimates from contracting companies proven capable of completing the level of work the demolition will require.

Interior fire damage
Shelby Fire Department Chief Mike Thompson said the 50/52 E. Main St. property ‘experienced total loss.’

Due to the structure’s placement, only so much information can be gathered through inspections until the demolition actually begins, she said.

“There’s so many unknowns, it’s unbelievable,” Hamrick said. “Even once we get the estimates, that’s just the start.”

Hamrick said her goal is to have requests sent to contracting companies by the beginning of December.

Furthermore, Hamrick said she hopes to hear back from those contacted by Dec. 12.

Community investment made this reporting happen. Independent, local news in Shelby and Northern Richland County is brought to you in part by the generous support of Phillips Tube GroupR.S. HanlineArcelorMittalLloyd RebarHess Industries, and Shelby Printing.

Staff reporter at Richland Source since 2023. I focus on the city of Shelby and northern Richland County news. Shelby H.S./Kent State alum. Have a story to share? Email me at