McClung Warehouses Demolition
In February 2014, KCDC and the City of Knoxville contracted QE2 to perform environmental oversight of an emergency demolition of the McClung Warehouses on Jackson Avenue in downtown Knoxville. Due to fires in 2007 and 2014, one fully-standing eight-story warehouse remained adjacent to the partially burned hull of another multi-story warehouse and remains of other multi-level structures near active streets and businesses.
The City contracted with a demolition and salvage company to take all the structures down immediately to meet a Fire Marshal’s mandate. QE2 was contacted by City personnel on Friday, January 31st, and the demolition contractor and QE2 began work on Saturday, February 1st.
Because the Fire Marshal had condemned the building, no thorough hazardous materials survey was able to be completed prior to demolition. Since the structures were in danger of imminent collapse, the demolition was performed under special permitting from the Knox County Department of Air Quality Management.
QE2’s task was to monitor the building demolition to ensure hazardous materials were identified and segregated as the building was demolished, abated if feasible, and disposed in an appropriately licensed landfill. QE2 worked with the contractor to help ensure as much material as possible was salvaged or recycled safely.
The demolition contractor and QE2 coordinated schedules and provided the needed services in work hours from daylight to dark every day for 10 days. At the end of 10 days, the majority of the buildings were down, and QE2 reduced oversight to a level that would continue to protect the client, but not cause the client undue financial strain.
Throughout the project, QE2 coordinated with the Medical Examiner and Coroner’s office to allow their personnel to collect evidence and run an investigation that resulted in the arrest of those who started the 2014 fire.
QE2 received a letter of commendation from the Fire Marshal for our cooperative efforts. Intense media pressure and public curiosity was common during the demolition. QE2 helped keep reporters, photographers, and the general public safe and out of the Contractor’s way, but also provided a way to allow them to witness and document the demolition of these historical structures that so many people in Knoxville had come to love.