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Future uncertain for Holyoke's Essex House

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HOLYOKE, MA (WSHM) -

Its no secret Holyoke's Essex House has been falling apart.

A glaring red "X" already has been hanging outside of the High Street building for more than a decade.

"An 'X' means that the building is decayed to the point where you don't want firefighters in there," said Lt. Thomas Paquin of the Holyoke Fire Department. 

However, in recent weeks, fire crews told CBS 3 that they've gotten a slew of calls about falling debris.

"We've been getting numerous calls from people saying there have been bricks falling on the building adjacent to the Essex House," said Paquin.

Business owners said bricks have came crashing down from this eight-story building, but that's not all.

"I've seen pieces of metal flying off when it's windy," said Jose Bou, owner of Salsarengue Restaurant & Seafood, a few businesses down from Essex House.

Business owners nearby are now concerned about how this debris will affect their business and safety.

"Obviously a brick falling from that height could potentially damage a building or kill someone," Bou said.  

At this time, fire crews and the city have reached out to the building's owner without much success, so now city and fire crews have met to find a solution before disaster strikes.

"The building commissioner has brought in a structural engineer company to come in and evaluate the building. They're report should be in a in a day or two saying exactly how they can sure up the building," Paquin said.

In the meantime, business owners are left waiting to see just what will happen next.

"I know that everybody is waiting for some sort of a signal... is it going to be demolished, when how, where?" Bou said.

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