Abandoned homes set on fire

By: Erin Logan Email
By: Erin Logan Email

It's a nuisance, it's dangerous, and South Bend firefighters say it poses a threat to the entire city.

Abandoned homes are being set on fire and it's happening too often.

With hundreds of vacant homes throughout the city, firefighters and neighbors are worried it will take away from actual emergencies.

Assistant Chief Robert Sanders says, “It's something we're watching right now.”

It's something firefighters are frustrated about--getting called to scenes where abandoned homes are purposely set on fire.

They've been called to Johnson Street a few times within a few months—twice to 1105 Johnson.

Now, the question on everyone's mind is “what if.” What if those fires, take away from others?

Theresa Zavala says, “They're vacant and there's nobody there and what if I was in a two story and my kids were trapped and I can't get to them and I need these firemen? They're going to die because the firemen aren't here to help me.”

Assistant Chief, Robert Sanders agrees 100 percent. It's an overall scary thought that could become a reality.

On Thursday, they responded to a fire on Portage Ave with people actually inside. Then, the vacant house fire at 1105 Johnson Street that took 22 firefighters two and a half hours to put out!

If the order were reversed, it could've been a nightmare.

Sanders says, “We have 11 engines in the city. They get taxed out on some of these house fires.”

He says when these fires are burning neighbors close by are in danger.

He says, “There's always a chance of those burning also and harming family members.”

Of course, firefighters too are in danger.

Sanders says, “Especially if they burned once before, there could be floor damage, and ceiling damage that could come down on these guys. In some cases, the basement steps have been burned out or cut out for whatever reason.”

Sanders asks that if you know anything about these abandoned homes being set on fire or if you see anything to call the fire department or police.

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