A two-family, three-story house on Homestead Avenue in Hartford was destroyed by fire June 6, leaving the building a charred hulk. Now, more than three months later, it is still a charred hulk. The upper two floors are all but gone; the lower floor is of uncertain stability. Plywood partly fills lower-floor windows.
The structure is obviously dangerous, an unattractive nuisance. Why has nothing been done about it?
The reason the building still stands, said city hall spokeswoman Maribel La Luz, is that the owner is looking to rebuild and is not certain if the first floor is salvageable. The owner has applied for loans, and a decision is expected in the next few weeks. She said if the loans fall through and the owner fails to demolish or rebuild, the city will step in.
She said officials give "a little more leeway" to owners who take responsibility and work with the city to try to repair or replace a damaged building. That's understandable; it's much easier all around if the owner takes care of the work. But as with so much else in the city, why has it taken so long? The fire was last spring. It will soon be fall. A lot of children live in that neighborhood. Is there no expedited process to handle a situation such as this? Would this structure still be standing if it were on a tonier street?
The building was the subject of a Sept. 2 letter to the editor in which the writer noted that the original police tape stretched across the front of the property was yellow shreds flapping in the breeze. The letter appears to have resulted in new police tape.
Reprinted with permission of the Hartford Courant.
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