The battle to save Florence's Trust Building

FLORENCE, SC (WMBF) - In 2009, the Trust building was condemned; before that it had been 16 years since anyone occupied the upper level of the building.

Ray Reich with the City of Florence took WMBF News on a tour of the Trust building. Inside, the building has mold and water damage, along with broken furniture.

"This next level if you notice this step here is about to fall through so kind of be careful," said Reich.

All of the steps leading all the way up to the seventh floor were challenging. Doors and fallen debris often held up the tour as the group struggled to find footing while climbing to the top.

"I would imagine that like so other buildings, the cost of maintenance and operation just got to the point that the property owners could not afford to do what was necessary," said Reich.

A structural review of the building shows there are two types of toxic mold growing in the space. It's on walls and doorways and underneath your feet.

"Well you got black mold along the floor so don't walk in that area because what it does is makes it go airborne," said Reich.

"I don't think there is a great deal of risks to us walking around with the lead paint, but certainly the asbestos and the mold are the issues that we know of. There may be more," said Reich.

The Historical Commission, the group that wants the building renovated, instead of torn down to make room for the city's new medical school says it has been through the Trust building and believes the mold, mildew and decay can be fixed.

Right now, the demolition of the building is on a 60 day hold while the Historical Commission searches out options of preservation that they can present to Florence City Council.

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