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City Could Collect $273,000 in Fire; May Go to Museum

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Though the debris of what was the Electric Building has not yet been cleared away, the city got encouraging news on the effort to rebuild the Aerospace Museum collection.

The city could reap a windfall profit of sorts from the fire that totally destroyed the 63-year old building. Not only will the city get to keep the nearly $5 million federal grant that it received for the reconstruction of the building, but may also be due up to $273,000 from the insurance policy covering the building.

According to the city records office, the city insured the structure for that amount as a part of the $67 million policy covering all of the city's structures. The policy was purchased from Maryland Casualty Co. of Baltimore, with all dollar amounts of the buildings based on figures set in October, 1976.

City officials seemed confident that they could recover on the full amount of the building, minus the $10,000 deductible, despite the fact that the Electric Building had been scheduled for demolition later this year. City risk management officials were discussing settlement of the claim with insurance company adjusters on Friday.

Following a settlement, the money for a settlement must be accepted and appropriated by resolutions of the city council. Suggestions have already been forwarded to award any such money to the Aerospace Museum to help rebuild its depleted collection.

The mayor's office is coordinating efforts to help put the museum back on its wings. Numerous groups and private citizens already have phoned in offers of personal and financial assistance. A spokesman for Mayor Wilson expected that a committee would be selected sometime next week to handle the rebuilding efforts.

A private museum rescue fund is now underway.

Meanwhile, the city began on Friday to send out informal bids for the complete demolition and clearing of the building. The awarding of the contract is expected by the city council on Monday or Tuesday.

Ninteman Construction Co., charged with removing and casting the baroque ornaments of the Electric Building, will knock down the remaining walls of the structure, to avoid an unnecessary public hazard. Then, the second contract will be awarded for the complete clearing of the site.

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