INDIANAPOLIS – City officials say a vacant building on the west side will be inspected for potential demolition after a weekend fire that prompted a death investigation.

The Indianapolis Fire Department responded to a fire around 8:15 Saturday morning in the 3000 block of West Washington Street. Minutes later, fire crews discovered a man dead inside the building. He has been identified as 39-year-old Walter Medsker, according to the coroner’s office. It’s unclear if he died in the fire, or by some other means.

The two-story white brick building had been boarded up and neighbors say it has been vacant for years.  However, they also say people are constantly coming and going at the building. They say the building attracts drug users and people looking to get warm in cold weather.

“It gets boarded up again but they just constantly come back,” said neighbor Ashely Jordan. “Not even a day later, they’ll be back and the boards will be taken down.”

“And if you ain’t an owner or somebody in charge of the property, you can’t even have them kicked out,” said neighbor James Hardwick.

Jordan, who lives one block from the building, says activity at the building has become a safety concern for her family. “We have two small kids and I don’t even like them to come outside and play by themselves,” she said.

Less than two months ago, an Indianapolis firefighter was injured fighting a fire at the same building. It was after that fire when Jordan says she called the Mayor’s Action Center to report more trespassing in the building.

“When you call the Mayor’s Action Center you have to leave a voicemail,” she said. “And I’ve left voicemail, but I haven’t gotten a call or an email back.” However, this latest incident may the trigger for further action.

The Indianapolis Department of Business and Neighborhood Services (BNS), which works to reduce unsafe and nuisance properties, says the city has issued multiple board-up and trash cleanup orders for the building over the years. The city also has open repair orders with liens against the property.

“In light of this weekend’s fire, we will be sending an inspector out this week to assess if a demolition order needs to be issued,” said BNS spokesperson Brandi Pahl. However, even if a demolition order is issued, the process could take months. “All demolitions by the city are dependent upon budget and time constraints, as well as Indiana Unsafe Building Code and Indiana Procurement Code,” Pahl continued.

“Well it needs to come down, that’s about all I can say,” Hardwick said.

The cause of the fire and the cause of death for the man found inside are still under investigation. If you want to report an unsafe or nuisance property in your neighborhood, you can find information on how to do that on the city’s Unsafe Building Program website.