Some Lanark Village residents are concerned about a group of apartments that burned two years ago and have not been demolished, but county officials say progress is being made towards cleaning up the scene.


Some Lanark Village residents are concerned about a group of apartments that burned two years ago and have not been demolished, but county officials say progress is being made towards cleaning up the scene.



Early on the morning of Saturday October 9, 2010, firefighters summoned to Parker Street in Lanark Village found units 5-4 through 5-8 in flames. The apartments were a total loss because flames spread rapidly through a common attic. Unit 5-3 was saved from destruction because the owner had installed a firewall. The blaze may have been caused by faulty wiring.



As of now, the weed choked, charred shells of four of the five units are still standing and neighbors say they pose a health and safety hazard.



Ed Hanson lived in unit 5-5, the only apartment that has been razed. He said the unit was a bank owned foreclosure, at the time of the fire, and insurance paid to have it taken down. He has since moved across the courtyard from his old home.



He said the burned out apartments are a dangerous eyesore.



“Nobody seems to have any authority,” he said. “Asbestos inspectors visited and put up tape that has fallen down. There are kids playing in the burned out shell.”



Ed Pattillo who takes pride in his unit, 5-3, and has invested significant effort and money in upgrading it said he is angry.



Pattillo said, “Last Nov. Cheryl (Sanders) told the Lanark Village Association the units would be removed in no more than 45 days.”



In a recent interview, County Attorney Michael Shuler said he is involved in slow but meaningful dialogue with the owners of the four remaining units. He said all four units are to be demolished but, when the owners tried to apply for a county demolition permit, and they were told they needed an asbestos inspection to obtain the permit.



He said, as of the beginning of Sept., two of the units have been inspected and two are scheduled for inspection.



Shuler said, “I will prosecute if they do not comply, but I am more interested in working with the owners.”



Pattillo said he doesn’t want to wait any longer.



Since the buildings burned, he said “We have got roaches and rats everything that we didn’t have before those buildings were derelict He said he called the Health Department shortly after the fire and was told that because it was burned out, they had no authority.



“Nobody claims it because it’s a hot potato, Pattillo said, “They know who the owners are and the tax department knew where to find them.”



Pattillo wants the county to take more direct action to hurry repairs of the burned out units on Parker Street and suggested they put a lien on one owner’s property. He said one of the owners, “has at least two other rental units in the Village so it’s not like the county doesn’t have anything levy against to pay for the demolition.”



Pattillo said Alan Pierce sent one of his neighbors a letter saying the county was depending on the good will of the owners to get the damage repaired



Pattillo believes there is a problem with derelict buildings in general on the east end of the county. “We spent thousands of dollars to attract tourists,” he said, “and the first thing they see on US 98 is Putnal Station.” Putnal station is an abandoned garage dating back to Camp Gordon Johnston located near Hinton Street on US 98.