SIDNEY — Sidney Police are looking for the people who posted a YouTube video while trespassing on the property of the former Wagner Ware Manufacturing building at 440 Fair Road.
The city of Sidney recently became aware of the video that was posted by a profile called UrbanEx Girls. City Manager Mark Cundiff announced at Monday’s Sidney City Council meeting Sidney Police is investigating and charges will be filed once the trespassers are identified.
A woman recording the YouTube video comments that the building appears to be very dangerous in various areas. She notes that caution tape is everywhere and an upper level floor she was standing upon was caving in. Her video captures dilapidated/decaying floors, walls, staircases, deserted old equipment and supplies, broken windows, trash, debris and graffiti throughout the abandoned building.
“This place is literally falling apart. They tried to tear it down, like I said, and the city stopped them because of asbestos. I should probably be wearing a mask right not … but I’m not,” she admits in the video.
Police Chief Will Balling said the trespassers will have criminal trespassing charges filled against them. He noted it is apparent the building is vacant and that people should not being going into it.
“This much more than just a criminal trespass situation that we are dealing with. It is a dangerous situation for anyone to go in the building just to look around, and especially at night. While people may think it is exciting to do it, they are putting their selves at risk, and also any first responder that has to go in after them,” Balling said in an email responding to questions about the trespassing.
He said the city regularly makes random visits the building to check the doors and see if they are still secured and that no one is trespassing or squatting inside. He said they have boarded up the building as best possible to prevent people from entering and being hurt. However, he noted that it does not prevent those who want to enter, even though they have to work to get inside, and therefore know they should not be there.
Balling said Sidney Police officers regularly drive by to see if they can observe anything out of the ordinary.
Last October an arson fire was also set by unknown trespassers. Upon arrival, firefighters found the large three-story vacant manufacturing building with light smoke showing. Upon investigation a fire was found on the first floor, near the front of the building.
“As a city, this is a very difficult situation because the owner of the building has failed to maintain it and we are trying everything that we can legally to come to a better resolution,” Balling‘s email said.
The Wagner Ware site originally was the former foundry of the Wagner Manufacturing Company that produced cast iron and aluminum products until 1952. The building had several owners until the metal finishing manufacturer Master Vision Polishing closed the location in 2008.
Prior to Master Vision Polishing pulling out in 2008, Community Development Director Barbara Dulworth said there were already issues with the poor condition of the building. Afterward, it continued to deteriorate from neglect and vandalism. The facility has been declared a dangerous building, and therefore no one is to be on the abandoned property.
In August 2016, after receiving a citizen complaint, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) investigated and then removed hazardous materials which posed “an imminent and substantial threat to the public health” from the property throughout the end of the year. The work was fully funded by the EPA.
Dulworth said it has been the city’s goal to find funds to demolish the building for some time. She recently said nothing new is happening with property either with demolition plans or in developing an end use. She noted it will be a very expensive project for the city to get rid of the building. There are several grants available to help with funding through the Federal and Ohio EPA, she said, but the major barrier is the requirement to have an end-user for the land.
“Finding an end-user for this particular property is not easy,” Dulworth told the Sidney Daily News in 2016 when the EPA began the removal action. “It is not suitable for industrial use — or residential use because it backs up to the railroad.”
“We have look at anything from legal action to grants to try to take care of the situation and will continue to do whatever we can to take care of the issue,” Balling said in the email.
Sidney Police asks if anyone recognizes any of the individuals in the photos to please contact the Sidney Police Department at 937-498-2351.
Reach the writer at 937-538-4823.