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Columbiana sues couple over home’s condition



Published: Sat, May 7, 2011 @ 12:03 a.m.

Staff report

COLUMBIANA

City Atty. Daniel A. Blasdell has filed a lawsuit against a couple who haven’t fixed or demolished their burned house.

Jason R. and Kristina Neapolitan were living at 129 Hawkins Lane in a house with an attached garage Nov. 9, 2010.

The complaint filed Thursday in Columbiana County Common Pleas Court stated that the house was partially damaged by fire and efforts to put out the fire.

The fire and action to extinguish it “left the subject structure totally dilapidated and uninhabitable,” according to the lawsuit.

The document added that because of time and bad weather, “the remainder of the structure has been severely weakened.

It is a danger to humanity, a potential haven for wild animals and vermin, and in a condition that debases the appearance and general character of the neighborhood.”

The lawsuit also says that the city already has spent $2,628 to pay Crowell Construction to partially secure the house during the lawsuit.

Columbiana Housing Inspector Robert Belding issued an order May 2 stating he believes an emergency exists that requires the city to demolish the house immediately.

He said he thinks the house can’t be repaired.

Belding and Fire Chief Rick Garrity could not be reached.

City Manager Keith Chamberlin said he believed the Neapolitans “hadn’t done anything about the damage because they were moving out.”

The lawsuit asks for a ruling that the property is a public nuisance, a court order to demolish the house and restitution of $2,628 for having the house secured.


Comments

1MattMarzula(109 comments)posted 3 years, 4 months ago

While I'm not too thrilled that the city and courts have decided to take action against private citizens, I would like to know the full circumstances of the events. Did the owners have insurance and has the claim been settled? Because it would be a shame if the home owner's progress hinges on a corporations long awaited decision. It's not cheap to demolish a structure. It surely is not cheap to rebuild. If I lost my house in a fire, I would be bankrupt as well as homeless. So, I ask deaf ears, do these people really need the added stress of litigation?

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2InColumbiana(63 comments)posted 3 years, 4 months ago

So, who owns the property? It probably was not insured, because insurance carries a 'clean up' amount (mine is 25% of the value of the house). So an insured house (where no foul play is suspected) should have been cleaned up by now. (Granted, insurance companies can come out and claim the moon was in a dangerous phase and use that as a basis to refuse to pay on the claim.)

A demo can be sort of cheap (as in, get the structure flat can be 1 day w/backhoe)... it's the clean up that will cost a lot.

Wonder if neighbors and the community have offered to help before this? Have the owners just disappeared?

My neighbor had a fire in an old 2 story house. Within 2 weeks the site was cleared and a double wide pulled in and set up... we all marveled at how quick they were able to "recover" from their "accidental" fire... but I can tell you for certain that an insured house can be replaced very quick.

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3CassAnn(252 comments)posted 3 years, 4 months ago

If the house can't be repaired why not talk to the owner about donating it to the fire department for training? Seems a more reasonable solution than paying a construction company to hold together a mess. The economy is bad and a lot of people are in a financial bind. Find another way.

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