DEMOLITION workers don’t often have to wear breathing apparatus but they would have appreciated them when they uncovered burnt clothing in the Mann’s building last week.
Piles of clothes on the ground and handbags and shoes on racks were blackened from a fire that tore through the shop in the Mann’s building on High Street four years ago.
The building is being dismantled to develop the Mann’s Centre and site manager Clint Burgmann said the clothing smelled “putrid”.
“I’m guessing the fire brigades would have hosed them all down and they have stayed there just rotting,” he said.
“I think the smell will last in my nose longer than time itself.”
It was believed the 2010 fire started in the roof of an apartment behind the Mann’s building before spreading to the discount clothing shop.
Mr Burgmann said he was unsure why the clothes were not removed at the time.
Workers cleared the clothing out on Thursday and Friday and disposed of it in landfill.
Mr Burgmann said he still predicted the demolition would be complete by the end of March but until then it would be hard work.
“Everything is welded which is unusual because things are usually bolted and screwed,” he said.
“It means it’s really hard to pull apart and we have to cut everything rather than unscrew it.”
Asbestos removal is still ongoing and Mr Burgmann expected it to continue for the duration of the demolition.
“Because the building has been renovated so many times you pull off one layer and there’s asbestos,” he said.
“We will keep pulling off layers until there is nothing left.”
Mr Burgmann said the remainder of the demolition would be repetition for the workers.
“For us now it’s just clear an area of asbestos then demolish it then clear an area again and demolish that,” he said.