Bob Joseph/WNBF News

Following preparation work over the past several days, heavy demolition equipment started tearing down the Ellis Brothers Contemporary Furniture building in downtown Binghamton.

Bob Joseph/WNBF News

The historic brick structure sustained heavy damage in an April 30 fire.

Although company owners hoped to retain the building's exterior, structural engineers determined that would not be feasible.

City officials last week announced the structure would be demolished because of safety issues. They said engineers concluded the building was "in imminent danger of collapse."

Bob Joseph/WNBF News

Demolition workers poured water on the doomed building to control dust that might contain asbestos.

Sampling equipment was set up around the demolition site to monitor air quality.

The Nirchi's Pizza restaurant to immediate north of the Ellis building was closed today during the heavy demolition work. Other neighboring businesses remained open.

Bob Joseph/WNBF News

A section of Water Street just north of Court Street was closed to vehicular traffic. The sidewalk on the west side of Water Street was open for pedestrians.

Small groups of people gathered during the day to watch the progress of the demolition project.

The Ellis Brothers store on Washington Street remains open.