Vickers crews were on heavy equipment on the Park Street side of the facility moving the debris and looking for more hotspots. Another crew could be seen on an aerial platform chipping away the bricks on both smoke stacks as they prepare to bring them down on Monday.
Lolli said by mid-Sunday afternoon a portion of one smoke stack dropped about a fourth of its height.
South Verity Parkway/Ohio 4 between Girard Avenue and Yankee Road has been closed since Wednesday to through traffic because of the damaged buildings and debris. Two smoke stacks at the south end of the facility will also need to come down to protect public safety. City officials had hoped to have South Verity Parkway/Ohio 4 opened to traffic by late Friday.
The 11-acre site of 61 parcels is located at 300 S. Verity Parkway and had an estimated 400,000 to 600,000 square feet of space.
Middletown firefighters have remained on the scene watching for floating embers going on to nearby residential and commercial properties since New Year’s Day. The smoldering embers were buried in pockets inside the double roof, burning into the old wooden beams. As demolition crews worked, moving the debris and removing the scrap metal left in the building, walls were being knocked down, revealing more hotspots.
The large fire was reported at 6:40 a.m. on Jan. 1. More than 100 firefighters at a time battled the blaze, which led to the arrest of a man, Joshua Lamb, who said he was living in the building when a fire he started spread to his bedding.
Lamb was arraigned in court Jan. 2. Court officials said Lamb is being held under a $20,000 bond in the Middletown City Jail, where he was booked about 8 p.m. Jan. 1. A preliminary hearing for Lamb has been set for Wednesday.
Officials will continue to keep various streets blocked off until the fire is completed put out and the area is safe.
City officials said there were many ways of getting into the building, Crews previously boarded up windows and doors and put up fencing to deter people from entering the building, said Acting City Manager Susan Cohen.
She said the city does not own the building or property that was forfeited to the state of Ohio on Dec. 19 in a tax foreclosure suit.
Photographer Nick Graham contributed to this report.