Lexington house faces demolition after fire

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LEXINGTON, Va. (WDBJ) -- Lexington is known for its historic houses, but one that was damaged by fire may have to be torn down.

The over 100-year-old home was being used as a rental by Washington and Lee undergraduates when a fire broke out in back on this past February 10. No one was hurt, though the students did lose most of their possessions.

Since then, the house has sat while the owners worked with insurance companies on what to do with the property. Now, Russ Orrison has applied for a certificate to demolish the home.

He told us off camera that the repair estimate – just to return to old house to its status as a rental property – was $800,000. With most of the undergraduate students moving to campus housing, Orrison didn’t think he would be able to rent his apartments again, let alone make back that much money.

Now, he explained, because of the costs of demolition, the land alone is worth more without the house than with it.

Orrison is waiting for a meeting of the Lexington Architectural Review Board on September 15th to take the next step on his application.