Monday, November 26, 2007

Abandoned Homes and Arson

Recent discussions on ZS dealt with abandoned homes in Cleveland. Vacant foreclosed homes are stripped by looters for their plumbing and wiring, destroying their value.

Today, this story caught my eye. Apparently there are some 4,100 vacant homes in Columbus.

While I don't know of any reports of looting in Columbus similar to Cleveland, there are some reports that the abandoned homes are targets for arson.

From the first link:

"It's that time of year when squatters will take refuge inside some of these vacant homes to stay warm and maybe the arsonist doesn't know there's someone upstairs or in the basement when they start the fire," said Columbus fire Battalion Chief Doug Smith. "We still have to make an aggressive search and rescue pattern to see if anyone is in there."

Obviously this is pure speculation, but I have to wonder if the fires are being set by neighborhood residents as a way to keep squatters away. I could understand that... homes become vacant eye sores, boarded up, lawns go to hell. Then the squatters move in.

Perhaps it's just me, but I think of squatters I don't think of people down on their luck, but of the mentally ill and drug addicts / alcoholics. Not the nicest people, when they're unmedicated and/or drunk/high.

Torching the vacant home gets rid of them. No one has been hurt so far, but that may be a matter of time. I can't say I agree with that, but I could understand it.

But then, with this from the second Dispatch article:

By the time she looked outside, she said, the abandoned home had been overtaken by flames, which had caught onto the house next door.

She noticed a couple of teenagers filming the scene with their cell phones. She said she doesn't know whether they started the fire, but she hopes police beef up security in the area.

Maybe it is just kids getting a thrill.

1 comment:

Scott said...

Yea, I don't think homes are being looted here... but give them time. Once folks here realize they can they will.