FRANKFORT — In as little as two weeks, the state fire marshal’s office could decide the fate of the Hustonville Haunted House.
Building owner Paul Gray and his attorney Daniel Elliott, of Danville, Hustonville Mayor Marc Spivey, Fire Chief Jimmy Lane and Lincoln County Attorney Daryl Day had a hearing Wednesday at the Office of the State Fire Marshal in Frankfort. Hearing Officer Mike Powers, who has more than 40 years of legal experience, presided over the hearing.
Since February, Gray and Hustonville officials have been at odds over the fate of the historic building located at 9837 E. Main St. In February, a portion of the wall collapsed and city officials closed off a portion of Old Liberty Road in an effort to protect residents.
Spivey, Lane and Day all said during the hearing that the road closure causes an unacceptable delay when Hustonville volunteer firefighters are responding to emergencies in the city of 365 residents. Also, the Hustonville department often helps other agencies in Moreland and Stanford.
Lane, also a member of Hustonville City Council, said he used a fire truck to estimate the delay caused by the road closure at about three minutes.
Gray acknowledged during the hearing that the 100-year-old building as it stands could not be operated as a business, but said he has made many efforts to repair the building that have been rebuffed by city officials.
“I’ve been very open,” Gray said. “ ... I feel they want the building gone.”
Spivey said Gray discussed a number of possible resolutions, but in the end they were “just ideas.”
“Some demolition work has been done but no repairs,” Spivey said.
Gray said bringing the building up to the city’s standards would cost about $93,000 and the property itself is worth only about $5,000.
“There is no more loose brick and the hole has been remedied,” Gray said. “The entire building has been gutted.”
Gray and his attorney said the Hustonville Haunted House is not a fire hazard, an assessment with which city and county officials disagree.
Powers said at the end of the hearing that he hoped to render a decision within 10 to 15 days.