ATTICA, Ind. (WLFI) - An abandoned house catches fire in Attica and it is believed that the fire was intentionally set. The mayor said the city is working to take down other abandoned homes to prevent more fires from happening.
"I seen power lines being burnt down, cracking, popping. I mean it's scary," said Tammy Hemp, an Attica resident.
"I was afraid that I would get fire too. But thank God there was nobody living in that house," said Katie Helmerick.
The house Helmerick is talking about is an abandoned home next to hers in Attica on East Summit Street. It caught fire Thursday night. She said she's thankful the fire didn't spread to her home, just yards away.
"The roof and everything, the garage and everything got on fire. There's a big tree out here by my fence and I was afraid that tree would catch on fire," said Helmerick.
Crews from Attica, Williamsport, and West Point were able to extinguish the fire before it spread. Because the house was abandoned, it is believed that the fire was intentionally set. Mayor Bob Shepherd said the abandoned house is one of many in Attica.
"The 2010 national census said that we have a 199 empty housing units. Not houses, but total units," said Shepherd.
Shepherd said he looked at water meters and found that the number of units that had no water usage was a third of the 199 units from the census. He said that's still a large number of houses for a town with a population of 3,245. That's why he has a certain amount of money each year in the city budget to tear down five abandoned houses.
"If they're deteriorated to the point that it costs more to rehab than to build a new one, it's probably not going to be worth salvaging them. The other part you've got to watch is the safety issue," said Shepherd.
Shepherd believes that abandoned houses are a problem for other small communities throughout the state.
The cause of Thursday night's fire is being investigated by the state fire marshal's office. Once the state fire marshal's office is done with the house, Shepherd said the city will work to take it down as soon as possible because of safety concerns.
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