Neighbors ‘overjoyed’ over new plan to remove dangerous ‘fire piles’ in Montgomery County community

DAYTON — Some empty properties can be more than just an eyesore they can be dangerous and lead to problems for years. But a new plan aims to rid parts of Dayton of these ‘fire piles.’

When a business or house is so badly damaged in a fire and an emergency demolition is ordered, fire piles are left behind.

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News Center 7 spoke with several people who said they are excited about these dangerous debris sites being cleaned up, many of which have lived beside them for years.

“I’m just amazed right now, I’m like, are you kidding me?” Robert Allen Jr. of Dayton said, who has lived beside a fire pile for several years.

Fire piles are also dangerous. Many residents have seen animals attracted to the pile.

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“It’s looked like this for several years and it attracts animals. There’s all kinds of raccoons, possums, groundhogs, you name it, it comes out. It needs to get cleaned up,” Allen told Campbell during his report on News Center 7 at 5:00.

Joe Hruska told Campbell during his report on News Center 7 at 5:00 that the property next to his family’s house has had a fire pile for almost three years, and that his house had also been damaged in the fire.

“I had to put the new siding and new windows in,” Hruska said.

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These fire piles are a major safety concern for neighbors, Hruska and others are concerned about children who play in the debris.

“It is, there are kids that play in there, rusty nails,” Hrsuka told Campbell during his report on News Center 7 at 5:00.

City commissioners have voted to spend almost three-quarters of a million dollars to clear 26 fire piles across the city, which equates to about $28,000 apiece, instead of $15,000 to take down a building that isn’t fire-damaged.

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“We do have to treat it all as asbestos so all of the material has to be removed and placed in a special landfill,” City Manager Shelley Dickstein said.

The city hopes to avoid using taxpayer dollars by finding the property owners and getting them to pay for it.

For now, Dayton recovery plan funds are covering the cost, and many people are breathing a sigh of relief.

“Fantastic, I’m overjoyed, we’re over the moon, it’s great, it’s great,” Hruska told Campbell during his report on News Center 7 at 5:00.

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