CRIVITZ – It’s been almost three years since a fire tore through a Crivitz apartment building. Thirteen people were hurt, none seriously. People living there lost many of their belongings.
The building is still standing today, and the village president says getting the property cleaned up is urgent.
Joe DeGrave says he remembers it like it was yesterday.
“I looked out my bedroom window, the flames were twice as high as the building,” said DeGrave. “The buddy of mine, who lived upstairs, he had to jump out of the window.”
The fire at Oakwood Haven Apartments left half of the 20 units in ruins.
“Well, it’s a junk pile, that needs to be torn down,” said DeGrave.
Crivitz Village President John Deschane says Marinette County took over the deed to the apartments last fall after the previous owner defaulted on property taxes.
“It’s moved to the top of the list of complaints that I get,” said Deschane.
We did a FOX 11 Fact Check. County land records indicate the complex was worth $286,500 at the time of the fire. The latest and last property tax bill was in 2009. It totaled almost $5,000.
“Right now, because the county owns it, there’s no taxes being paid on it at all, which is not in anybody’s best interest. So the village as well as the county would like to see it cleaned up,” said Deschane.
A plastic fence circles the entire complex, and there are “No Trespassing” signs. But those who live in the area say there are safety concerns.
“Especially when the bottom windows aren’t boarded up. They’re open, anybody can get in there, anytime they want,” said DeGrave.
“We’re well aware that it’s an eyesore, we’re well aware that there’s safety issues, we’re well aware that there’s been reports of animals in and out of there,” said Deschane.
County and village leaders say new apartments will replace the old.
“To the citizens of the village of Crivitz, we’re working on it,” said Deschane.
Marinette County and the village say there is no timeline as of yet.