The owner of a Buford gas station that’s slowly falling into a sinkhole has “committed to take immediate action,” the city’s director of public safety said.
The city first told the station’s owner, Irfanali Momin, to demolish the building or fix the sinkhole on May 30, 2018. The sinkhole was much smaller at that point, Public Safety Director Dan Branch told the AJC. By late December the sinkhole had significantly grown, causing a side wall to fall off of the building and into the hole, along with many pieces of debris. As of Jan. 9, a bathroom and cashier area were dangling precariously over the edge.
The sinkhole is not and has never been considered a danger to the public, according to both Branch and Capt. Tommy Rutledge, a spokesman for Gwinnett County Fire and Emergency Services. The fire department evaluated the sinkhole in May and December, putting up caution tape to prevent the public from getting too close each time. Because the sinkhole is entirely on private property, the city could not go in by itself to make repairs or stop it from spreading, Branch said.
After failing to respond to notices from the city of Buford in May and December, Momin was set for a court date on Friday, Jan. 18. That court date was postponed Wednesday, and Branch said Momin had begun the process of debris removal from the site. The building must be inspected for asbestos before the city issues a demolition permit, Branch said in a press release.
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