Harrison TownshipSeptember 20, 2012
Township official hopeful burned home will soon be gone
By Julie Snyder
C & G Staff Writer
HARRISON TOWNSHIP — After listening to numerous residents’ complaints about a dilapidated house on Cloverleaf Street, one Harrison Township official is happy to learn that it will soon be gone.
During recent township meetings, some residents of Cloverleaf, located between South River and Ashland Avenue, voiced their fears about a home that was destroyed in an accidental fire in early July.
The home was occupied by one individual, a man, when the blaze started the morning of July 8. Fire officials reported that the fire started in the first-floor living room of the home at around 8 a.m. — the result of a cigarette that was not totally extinguished.
The resident was able to get out of the home unhurt, but had to escape through a second-story window due to flames blocking his way to the door.
The home was totally destroyed by the fire, and the structure has since been not only an eyesore, but also a hazard, some neighboring residents have said. Some say they fear children from the area will find their way into the home and go inside because it has not been completely boarded up properly.
Harrison Township Building Official Vijay Parakh said he is not aware of any suspicious activity taking place in or around the house in the past three months, and no incidents, such as injuries from unauthorized people going insid, have been reported.
Regardless, he and other township officials are mindful as to what could happen.
“It’s a danger to the neighborhood,” Parakh said, adding that township employees and officials living around the area do keep a sharp eye on the property to ensure there is no trespassing. “We don’t want something bad to happen.”
Nonetheless, neighbors wanted the home gone before something does happen.
“I don’t want kids to go in there,” said one Cloverleaf resident who wished to remain anonymous. “I know, when I was a kid, I would have snuck inside a house like that with some friends to look around.”
Parakh said last week that the owner of the home did not have the financial means to have the home demolished himself and has had a difficult time finding a buyer.
But recent news will make everyone happy, including township officials.
“A contractor has purchased the land, and he does have plans to demolish the home,” said Parakh. “Right now, he’s just waiting for the deed to be transferred into his name.”
Parakh said conditions under the purchase include that he have the home demolished to township standards, which is slated to be done within the next month.
After the demolition, the property must be cleaned again to Harrison Township’s standards, and then the contractor has plans to go before the Housing Board to submit a plan for the construction of a new house on the property.
Because the Housing Board only meets once a month, the process before construction would even start will take some time, Parakh said.