Neighbors Say Homeowner Burns House Piece by Piece

Published 08/13 2014 07:02PM

Updated 08/13 2014 07:15PM

Burning down a house piece by piece. Vacant homes and vacant house fires continue to plague Evansville neighborhoods. But some people on Eichel Avenue say it's taking far too long for one house.

According to the assessor's website the next door neighbor bought the house six months ago. Although a friend of the owner denies it, neighbors say the owner has been slowing picking the house to pieces and disposing of it in a fire pit in the owner's yard.

A neighbor who wanted to remain anonymous told us a house was being torn apart one board at a time.

"To demo a whole house with a sledgehammer and a crow bar is ridiculous."

The neighbor says the remains are being burned in the middle of a neighborhood. 

"I was worried about them setting the neighborhood on fire. That's how big the flames were."

While surveying the house a rather agitated man claiming to help the owner demolish the dilapidated house made it clear he didn't want us to be there.

"You guys need to leave."

After the man calmed down we talked with him off camera. He says the fire neighbors were seeing was from a garage he was dismantling in the backyard. Neighbors say the same day two men were demolishing the house  a fire was started in a pit between the houses.

"I just happened to come out here on the porch and the area between the two houses was all lit up and I said 'what the hell is going on?' Flames as tall as my house."

Neighbors say beside the flames  they worry about other hazards as well.

"Lead paint, asbestos, stuff like that."

Neighbors say the owner has not burned materials in more than a month. But still the building with no roof and house with no back wall  still stands.

"It's degrading the neighborhood. I'm a property owner. I own this house. So it's a concern."

Through the flames and the fumes neighbors say they're fed up. The friend of the owner says they were given a year to demolish the house. Now six months in it seems with the "one piece at a time method" neighbors will be looking at the same heap six months from today.

"I think any demolition work needs to be done by licensed people. It needs to be knocked down, cleaned up, gotten rid of as soon as possible. Giving them a year is ridiculous."

When we first pulled up to the house the friend of the owner quickly went in the backyard and covered something with a blue tarp. The EPA was unaware of the situation, but has now started an investigation.

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