HUNTINGTON, WV (WOWK) – No matter where you live, abandoned homes that are health hazards seem to pop up like weeds.
In Cabell County, commissioners say it was often difficult for them to help residents deal with some of those structures, but the new Unsafe Building and Enforcement Agency hopes to change that.
Huntington resident Kimberly Oldaker lives right across the street from an abandoned home along 9th Avenue, which has already been deemed unsafe and is set to be demolished soon. She says this was a relief given the recent history involving abandoned homes.
“They had that fire around the corner, and me and my husband said, ‘If this place ever caught on fire. The way it’s set up, both places beside it, it’s just dangerous’,” Oldaker says referring to a fire that started in another abandoned home down the street from their house.
These cases are all too familiar for people in Huntington. This past year, the Huntington Fire Department responded to multiple house fire calls for abandoned homes.
As for the vacant and unsecured homes that are still standing, neighbors like Oldaker say they want them gone as soon as possible.
Now, anyone within the county limits can report all of these issues to the Cabell County Unsafe Building and Enforcement Agency. The newly developed group puts several different community leaders in one place to work together and remove the problems.
“We’re not nit-picking. We don’t want people to nit-pick on their neighbor with the grasses high. This is strictly for unsafe and abandoned structures that pose a severe risk to our citizens,” Cabell County Commissioner Kelli Sobonya said on Monday after their first meeting.
When people submit the locations, the agency will determine which homes are hazardous and which ones are just eyesores. Many neighbors say they believe this new development is a step in the right direction.
To report an unsafe building, click here.