‘Hoarder house’ fire latest incident in history with Code Enforcement

Local News

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) — A house that has been the focus of Code Enforcement cleanup caught fire Thursday morning. It happened around 3 a.m. in the 2500 block of East Paulding Road.

According to the Fort Wayne Fire Department, firefighters had to work their way around what they called the “hoarder house” and through a large amount of debris, both outside and inside the home, to get to the fire. It was eventually under control about 30 minutes after crews got to the home.

One person was able to get out safely. Firefighters also rescued one pet. No injuries have been reported.

Neighbor Code has been working to get the property cleaned up since January 2020, with multiple efforts made to work with the man who lives at the property. The homeowner died previous to the fire. Below is a timeline of cleanup efforts, provided by the City of Fort Wayne Community Development department:

  • Multiple attempts were made to get the occupant to clean up the property. He cleaned it up himself once in February.
  • Further accumulation occurred. The city issued Orders to Abate (clean-up) 3 times (April 2020, June 2020 and July 2020). The  city’s contractor cleaned the property (May 2020, July 2020, September2020)
  • At the September clean-up the property was only partially cleaned because of interference on occupant’s part. NCC realized a more permanent solution was needed. Also, NCC  could not get in backyard to clean so a court order was required.
  • On October 21, 2020 the city filed for a Preliminary and Permanent Injunction. With a deceased owner, it took time to serve all proper parties and allow time for response to the request of the city. A hearing was scheduled for January 11, 2021.
  • In the intervening time the situation escalated.
  • At the conclusion of the January 11 hearing the judge granted the City’s request.
  • The court’s order was issued Thursday (1/14/2021) morning that allows the city access to clean up the property.
  • The Preliminary and Permanent Injunction will allow the city to clean up anytime trash/debris accumulate outside of the home.
  • Contractors for the city plan to begin cleanup Tuesday (1/19/2021) morning.

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