Officials concerned after three fires at abandoned buildings in 24 hours

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (June 11, 2015) - Three abandoned buildings went up in flames late Wednesday night and early Thursday morning. The fires were in different parts of this city, all with one thing in common: Each blaze began inside an abandoned home.

One fire at 42nd Street and Post Road was set intentionally, according to investigators. Part of the building collapsed with two fire fighters still inside.

Fire department officials issued a warning to be on the lookout for sparks flying around abandoned properties.

“If you see people going in and out of structures that don’t belong there, make sure that you give IMPD a call make sure you give crime stoppers a call. Let them know that you have an issue with trespassers in boarded up unoccupied or vacant structures,” said Indianapolis Fire Department Public Information Officer Rita Reith.

That is exactly what folks on one Fletcher Place block do. Kody Parker lives behind two vacant homes.

“Everybody’s looking out for each other and if anybody sees anybody that’s not supposed to be in an area, we do always call, we’ll call the police, let them know so they can get a patrol out here,” said Parker.

“The problem is, we have so many abandoned homes that are not in the hands of the city or the county, but still sitting in private owners hands,” said City County Councilman, Jeff Miller (R – District 19).

Miller knows the plight of blighted homes all too well. As of this year, according to the Indiana Housing and Community Development Authority, Indiana ranks 7th in the nation for the number of abandoned properties, many of which are in Indy.

“It is very frustrating when you see properties that had potential, had only we had gotten ahold of them earlier, gotten them into the right person’s hands, and just sit there. Sit there vacant, and then sit there abandoned, and finally burn down, it’s crushing,” said Miller.

Nonprofits like Renew Indianapolis are constantly working to fight the blight. Working to buy up and sell vacant homes in an attempt to make fires like Wednesday’s all the less likely.

“There are so many reasons to support this so I do think it’s one of the great issues of our time,” said Miller.

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