Abandoned homes 'Just Can't Sit There,' Says City Councillor

A fire on Windsor’s West End has reminded city councilor John Elliott an ongoing issue with derelict property isn’t going away.

Windsor firefighters responded to 3416 Sandwich St. near Chippawa St. around 1pm Tuesday after reports of smoke coming from the two-storey building.

Elliott says it could have been worse if firefighters hadn't contained the blaze.

"In this one particularly, there was a house right beside it, thankfully that house was abandoned – it's not a bad looking house – but I don't know what kind of damage it suffered .Man that was a tough fire those guys were fighting."

He says should a fire break out in the wrong spot, it could be a disaster.

With hundreds of abandoned homes in Sandwich Town alone, Elliott says empty houses are a target for anyone up to no good.

"Certainly it's an issue because there’s a lot of a blighted property around them. Hopefully it wasn't arson because there are over a hundred properties that are just waiting for more of this kind of activity. I'm not saying it was [arson] but that's the problem you have,” he says.

The city has been in a legal battle with the Ambassador Bridge Company over derelict houses on Indian Rd.  for years.

Elliott tells AM800 News most of those houses are too far gone to restore.

He says he and other members of council have been looking to speed up the process of clearing derelict homes, but haven't gotten any results yet.

The latest fire is an example of why absent home owners need to be held accountable, according to Elliott.

"Something has to be done whether you start making the property owner's more accountable for either cleaning them up, or getting them removed,” he says. “They just can't sit."

Elliott has investigated issues with the home that burned down – neighbors were concerned after the home caught on fire last year.

He says the home was boarded up by the city, but no demolition order was issued.

It's finally being demolished after the latest fire gutted the structure.