Leaders present evidence to support condemnation of Century III Mall at public hearing

WEST MIFFLIN, Pa. — It was a packed house in West Mifflin Wednesday night as the borough presented evidence to support the condemnation of Century III Mall.

During a public hearing, fire officials testified about hazardous conditions for firefighters who’ve been called to Century III multiple times in the past year. They detailed the major risks to volunteers who are putting their lives in even more danger due to cracks and holes in the roof.

“We initially had to remove the firefighters from fighting the fire due to significant cracks in the roof that we found while the roof crews were on the roof, around the air units where the fire was,” said Jeff Youkers, Skyview Fire Department chief.

“Mold, broken glass, pretty obvious at this point that the ceilings have water damage. Several sections are leaning or sagging. Several sections were actually falling in areas that were unaffected by the fire as we were in the building,” said Donald Brooker, the chief deputy for the Allegheny County Fire Marshal.

West Mifflin Police Chief Gregory McCulloch, who is a lifelong resident, said the current state of affairs with the Century III building is one of disrepair and danger. Trespassing and vandalism are running rampant, to the point that some incidents aren’t even being reported by building maintenance.

“He let me know that one night, he found a trespasser with a long gun and that gentleman was walking through the mall opening fire, shooting out all the storefront windows. I asked the maintenance worker why he did not notify the police and his response was, ‘I didn’t want to see any officers get killed and I didn’t want to see the person with the gun get killed,’” said McCulloch.

Residents are disgusted with Moonbeam, the company that owns Century III Mall.

“You’re holding this whole borough hostage because you’re not doing anything,” said Bernice Nylander, who lives in West Mifflin.

Wednesday, Moonbeam’s attorney and chief operating officer were both present for the condemnation hearing. The company hired its own engineer to assess Century III.

“Like, it was a waste of time. They’re probably going to appeal whatever appeals, whatever happens, and the residents are gonna get stuck for a couple more years,” said Jim Jasinski.

Borough council says it plans to lobby local, county and federal officials for resources to find $15 million to tear the building down.

“We’re gonna look for assistance, find money. There’s ways around it,” said Dan Davis, a West Mifflin council member.

Moonbeam’s representative says it’s hired 24/7 security to patrol the mall. Council and police say they just found that out Wednesday night. West Mifflin council says it will decide the fate of Century III Mall at a future public meeting.

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