Inspector Declares City Hall Stairwell ‘Dangerous’ After Near Miss

A Haverhill City Hall stairwell, covering three floors, is closed and has been declared “Dangerous” by Building Inspector Richard Osborne.

An area of the third floor landing on the west side of city hall gave way this week, sending a chunk of slate onto the second story, just missing someone, officials said. A hole now appears in the floor between the second and third stories of the building. Linoleum tiles above the hole had been duct taped for years because of an uneven surface.

Osborne told WHAV the western egress stairwell can not be used until completion of repairs, which would come following an engineer design evaluation. Osborne also said alternative routes have been established from the third floor auditorium access to the second floor egress. He deferred further comment to the mayor’s office.

Mayor James J. Fiorentini and David Van Dam, chief of staff, were not immediately available for comment.

It was not clear at deadline what steps will be necessary to make repairs or how much they will cost. Other stairwells in the 105-year-old building feature similar designs. The building was originally built as Haverhill’s third high school in 1910. It was closed when a new high school was built on Monument Street, but served Amesbury High School and Northern Essex Community College until being converted for use as city hall in 1973.


4 thoughts on “Inspector Declares City Hall Stairwell ‘Dangerous’ After Near Miss

  1. The Mayor claims to have already set up a reserve for the repair of City property; but if this is accurate, where is this reserve located in the City budget, what is the name of the budget line item so residents can see how much money is in this account, and why has no one made an annual assessment of the buildings owned by the City and a regular repair schedule set up to address all of these issues that appear to be a SURPRISE to those we elected to monitor such issues.

  2. Another example of The City of Haverhill’s gross neglect and lack of attention to the care and repair of structures owned by this municipality. It is only when the repair problem is huge and can no longer be ignored that it merits the attention and concern of City politicians.

    • Well said and very true. This Mayor portrays himself as taking care of stuff. Read a story that the police station has had issues for 15 years which he knew about and he has done nothing until this year, when it became critical. The Mayor and city council knew back in 2000 that the Hunking school had serious problems. Other buildings are falling apart yet he plants trees ! People need to wake up to the pending disaster Haverhill residents are facing due to the horrible management of the city buildings.