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NUISANCE PROPERTIES Officials: Clean and secure areas



Published: Wed, August 24, 2005 @ 12:00 a.m.



A girl suffered severe burns during a bonfire on a piece of private property.

By JEANNE STARMACK

VINDICATOR STAFF WRITER

AUSTINTOWN -- An investigator for the state fire marshal said he has turned over information to the Mahoning County juvenile prosecutor on a case in which a 14-year-old girl was severely burned.

And Austintown Township officials are taking steps to make sure the nuisance property where she was hurt is cleaned up and secured.

Investigator Chuck Hanni said the girl was hurt around 8 p.m. Aug. 14 in a wooded area near a dead-end of Charlestown Place.

The property, which is about 12 acres that front Ohltown Road, is a favorite hangout for teenagers, said Hanni and township Administrator Michael Dockry. The property backs up to Charlestown, Hanni said.

The property, 278 Ohltown, was added to a list of nuisance properties at the township trustee meeting Monday. Dockry said he can now send the property owners a letter telling them they have seven days to board up an abandoned house on the property, cut grass and get rid of garbage. If the owners don't comply, the township can secure and clean up the property, then assess the owners to recover costs, he said.

He said the township fire inspector can even recommend the house be torn down, and if the owners don't do it, the township can at a cost of around $5,000.

But the problem of kids congregating on the private property is more tricky to manage, he said, because police don't patrol it.

About the teenager's situation

Hanni said that the night the girl was hurt, teenagers had started a bonfire on the property. He said someone threw an accelerant in the fire that was highly flammable, and the girl was burned.

"It was a pretty severe accident," he said.

Hanni said the girl is in the burn unit of Akron Children's Hospital, but he does not have information on her to release.

Austintown police had no report, and Fire Chief Andrew Frost said his department was not called out. Hanni said he believes the girl's parents took her to the hospital.

Hanni said he has turned over all his evidence to the prosecutor, who will decide whether to file charges against the juveniles who were at the fire.

Dockry said the letter to the property owners, Margaret H. Fraley and Riley D. Jones of New Middletown, is being mailed.

Fraley and Jones have unlisted phone numbers, and could not be reached to comment.




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