Oconto Falls neighbors want fire-damaged house removed
By Eric Peterson
OCONTO FALLS - A burned out shell of a house is all that remains after fire swept through an Oconto Falls home at 104 Hillside Avenue.It's been eight months since the blaze, but there has been little clean up at the location.Neighbors say they want the city to step in and do something. City leaders say they would help if they could find the owner of the property.Norman Schoenborn says he remembers the fire last November."Flames were coming out of the roof, and the whole neighborhood was out here, we were watching," said Schoenborn.Yellow fire tape reminds him every day."It's just an eyesore to the neighborhood. Stinky garbage in the back, and oil, oil containers and everything. It is a health hazard, you got small kids all over the place," said Schoenborn.Oconto Falls Mayor Brad Rice has heard the complaints."The police department is getting calls about the house, and I've gotten a few calls, and I've been addressed on the street about the house. We would just like to get it done, and get it out of the way," said Rice.But Rice says the city can't find the owner of the house."The building inspector tried to send a letter and it was returned, non-deliverable," said Rice.Rice says it's a matter between the owner and the owner's insurance company."I was told the insurance company has paid for the house, and they've contacted an excavator to remove the house," said Rice.The city inspector says she wants to hear from the owner before asking for legal action."What his intentions are, and if he has no intentions, then we are going to proceed the proper legal ramifications on our end," said Bobbie Krozell, Oconto Falls building inspector.The inspector says the city could condemn the property and issue an order to tear down the house.Neighbors say the owner was in the area and even cut the grass over the weekend.City officials say they are still looking for the owner.Neighbors say they just want to see the house removed."My wish is that something gets done," said Schoenborn.The city inspector says similar situations typically get resolved in about three or four months.The city council is expected to take up the issue at its next meeting.
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