Should deadly grain elevator be condemned?
Mon, 29 Aug 2011 21:37:55 GMT —
In May, 20-year-old Kelsey Tortoreo became the first victim to die at the grain elevator off of Northeast 3rd when she fell 85 feet to her death.
Since then, her father, Tom, began looking into the structure and found out it's notorious as a party destination.
Pronews 7 got an exclusive interview with Tom and we went with him when he went to see just how safe the structure is today
There's a cut rope that was hanging down a concrete shaft at the back of the building. This area leading to the basement of the elevator is just one a handful of ways party goers are still breaking into the Garvey elevator. It's been out of service since 1978 but it's a destination for teens, even making a spot on the underground exploration world wide website as a destination in Amarillo.
Tom says he knows his daughter shouldn't have gone there with her friends that night, but she also shouldn't have paid that debt with her life.
"She had gone to a room called the clown room. It's at the top, and as she was showing someone a clown, she walked backwards and fell through the hole," said Tom Tortoreo, Kelsey's Father.
Tom and his wife Kathy have visited the site a number of times, finding different entrances, including taking a rope to the basement, climbing trees, or one roll up door that isn't secure. There's new graffiti each week and plenty of evidence that the site is still being visited...and Tom wants to make sure the building is sealed up so no one else get killed.
"It's a nightclub, with no bouncer, no chaperones, kids can do whatever they want and it's been going on for years," said Tom.
We spoke with City of Amarillo building inspector, Scott McDonald to see what can be done to make the building safe. "The property was investigated last week and a letter will be sent out to the owner either today or tomorrow. We'll re-inspect the building in two weeks to see if the property has been secured and if its not in 2 weeks we'll go through the next steps," said Scott. "The building owner will be responsible for any costs that are incurred in the process and he's responsible for the debt."
We've tried to contact the owner, Edwin Axe, but his number is unlisted. He did tell the newspaper in May that he tried to make the place impenetrable and had welded all doors and windows closed, but it's obvious there are still plenty of ways into the building.
We invite Mr. Axe to contact the station and let viewers hear from him about his property.