Restoration will take a while


Last week's fire didn't slow down the Times-Journal one bit.
The Wednesday morning blaze destroyed one second-story apartment and caused extensive water damage below, but the T-J continues, as does The Printers, the company's commercial printing wing.
But although the business is operational, restoration is likely to take six months, maybe more.
The key to being operational was Cobleskill firefighters' spreading tarps on production computers even as they began putting water on the fire.
"Losing those computers would have been a catastrophe," said Times-Journal Publisher Jim Poole. "We would have figured out something, but I'm not sure what."
Later on Wednesday, Sue Horton of Elite Cleaning and Restoration, advised the T-J staff on the next steps.
The Sales Department suffered the worst damage. The dropped ceiling was ruined, as was the carpet.
On Ms. Horton's advice, staffers acted on Christmas Eve and moved desks, chairs, file cabinets and a refrigerator from Sales to non-damaged areas of the office.
The move-out will allow Elite Cleaning to remove the carpet and assess damage underneath.
Because restoration requires it, they'll also test the damaged area for asbestos and lead, both common in old buildings.
Testing will also be done in the adjacent computer room, which suffered minimal damage.
Removing the asbestos and lead--if found--will take time, so the T-J may temporarily re-arrange its production rooms. Still, in a building this size, finding space isn't too large a problem, Mr. Poole said.
"We're pretty cramped right now, but we're getting the work done," Mr. Poole said. "I imagine we'll have to move things around again, and maybe even a third time, before this is done. But we can do that."
The sales staff has already found other space in the office to work, and with computers, they can work from home or their cars.
Although there was no fire or water damage to the front office, news room and print shop, Ms. Horton found soot on the walls. Those rooms will require extensive cleaning, she said.
Cleaning will also be necessary in the apartments above the office, and more extensive work is necessary in the burned-out one.
On the exterior, a crew from Chris Lawton contracting patched holes in the roof that firefighters cut to release the head, and Alex Rohac boarded windows that volunteers knocked out to reach the fire.
Sandy Poole, who co-owns the building with her husband Jim Poole, lined up the contractors.
There's lots of paper in any newspaper office, and lots of it was water-damaged at the T-J. About a half-dozen employees and family members tossed out much of the debris on Christmas Eve.
They continued the job on Saturday, and it still isn't done.
"In a way, this is a hidden blessing," Mr. Poole said. "There's stuff here we haven't looked at in 15 years and never will. It's good to get rid of it.
"But at the same time, we lost sales flyers that our people use every day and dozens of old photos that can't be replaced."
After the cleaning and debris removal, contractors will repair the office and apartments.
"It will take time. We may not look the same, but we'll be even better than we were," Mr. Poole said.