Residents Wait Four Years for Home Demolition

WEST SENECA, NY - For months, residents near a home on Indian Church Road in West Seneca have wanted a home to be demolished, because of various problems related to the property.

"Disaster, ugliness, kind of a bad front for the street," said Christopher Garafalo, who lives near the home at 208 Indian Church Road.

"You come down the street and you see it directly at the corner and it's disgusting, the smell of it is horrible," said Jerome Kozlowski, who visits the neighborhood, because his mother lives there.

Everyday, Kozlowski visits his mom, who lives two doors down from the messy home. Kozlowski says he sees rodents around the abandoned home.

"Skunks, rats, huge rats, they're all over the place, they're burrowing up all over the place, because the place isn't being taken care of," Kozlowski said.

Garafalo lives in the same home, above Kozlowski's mom.

"People have been complaining for a while, wanting this house to be demolished and just be a distant memory," Garafalo said.

How long is a while?

Town officials say the home accidentally caught fire four years ago and has sat vacant since. After the fire, officials say the homeowner began making repairs, but didn't finish them. Three weeks ago, there was another fire that may have been deliberately set. The home's main floor is not safe to walk on; walls are missing and parts of the roof have caved in.

"Because the fire being so intense, we're ordering it to be demolished, our town engineer with me inspected the place, we deemed it unsafe and that's why we ordered the demolition process to start," said Gullo.

The town code allows West Seneca to take steps to fix housing issues.

"You can see a situation like this is not repairable, it's beyond that scope," Gullo said.

So, demolition is the only option -- which the West Seneca town board has approved. Officials say the homeowner has been put on notice that the home will come down.

"This house especially being demolished will bring a lot of happiness to a lot of people," Garafalo said.

West Seneca officials say that the home will be taken down later this week and that the demolition will be done safely.

Town officials say demolition costs will be forwarded onto the homeowner, so taxpayers will not foot the bill. After the demolition, the property will become an empty lot, which the homeowner will own.


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