Lawmaker Rips Vacant Property Owners for Negligence
Friday, July 20, 2012
Sen. Juan M. Pichardo is calling on the owners of vacant properties to secure their properties in order to keep the neighborhoods safe, or to foot the bill in the event that their negligence leads to calamity.
Wednesday evening, a fire broke out at a vacant commercial building at 618 Cranston St. Residents of the area had complained that the building was left unsecured, and vagrants were using the building despite its deplorable conditions. It was a second-alarm fire that required about 50 firefighters and 12 fire apparatuses on the scene from approximately 6 p.m. until midnight. In addition to the firefighters, police officers were also needed.
“Thank goodness no one was hurt,” said Senator Pichardo (D – Dist. 2, Providence) who represents the neighborhood.
“This situation is a reminder that there are many more vacant properties like this in Providence and the state. It is important for property owners to secure their buildings, both for the sake of public safety and so that they don’t become an eyesore to their neighborhoods,” he continued. “The owner of this property should have secured it. Instead, we had a scenario that required dozens of public safety personnel and equipment and was a major disruption to traffic flow and the neighborhood.”
Senator Pichardo said that it should be the responsibility of the property owner to shoulder the cost, which required many public safety personnel for a lengthy period of time. This situation might have been prevented had the owner taken appropriate steps to secure the property.
“Whatever the cause of the fire, the owner of the property failed to live up to his responsibility. We need to send a strong message that vacant properties in our cities should be safely secured by their owners. If there are complaints or evidence that vacant properties are not secured and something like this happens, owners need to be held accountable. The taxpayers in Providence are already suffering the ill effects of this blight. They shouldn’t now be left to pay the pubic safety bill caused by the negligence of a property owner.”
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