Ledger Inquirer: News may be good for neighbors of burned house

mowen@ledger-enquirer.comJune 23, 2013 

Frustrated Reader Hugh Busby is tired of the view from his yard.

Across the street, at 6940 Buckhorn Drive in north Columbus, a partially burned house has sat partially covered with a bright blue tarp for several months.

"The house is boarded up and has a tarp over it. No attempt has been made to make repairs and now it has been five and a half months since the fire," Busby wrote in an email. "One other neighbor and I have been alternating in cutting the grass to try and help as much as we can, but that's not enough."

Apparently the house burned in mid-January and the tenant managed to get out unhurt, Busby said. But since then, they've just boarded up the house, tied down a tarp over the apparently damaged roof and … nothing. Then a couple of months ago, the owners apparently decided to sell the property to someone interested in fixing it up.

It was impossible for me to tell the extent of damage from the street, and I didn't go peeking in the windows because that's pretty much against the law. And creepy looking.

But as I was photographing the house, it began to look more and more familiar. Really familiar. Then I realized why.

A couple of years ago, my in-laws had a similar fire at their house, known in the family as the Kennedy Compound. As was apparently the case on Buckhorn Drive, their fire started in the carport and spread just slightly into the house, but was halted fairly quickly.

(A side note: Their house, and possibly their lives, were saved by a functioning smoke alarm. If you don't have them, get them. Now.)

Their damage seemed to be very similar, and they were able to save the main structure, but not without tearing every square inch of drywall, wiring, flooring and insulation out of the place and sealing the studs to block the aroma of smoke.

When it was done, the house was as good as new and there's not a whiff of smoky smell. And Hugh got a new set of golf clubs out of the deal, too.

So maybe the same can be done on Buckhorn.

I called Ron Tate, the real estate agent listed on the ERA Elite Ventures for sale sign out front.

Tate said the asking price is $89,000, which is about $84,000 below its listed fair market value. (You do the math; I can't do everything for you.)

He said he understands the neighbors not liking the sight of the house, but he also had good news for them. He has an interested buyer who has made an offer.

So, Hugh (the frustrated one, not the FIL) take heart. There may soon be a new owner and contractors starting repairs.

Don't come to me complaining about the noise.

Update

A few hours after last Monday's Inquirer about the gap-toothed guardrail on Warm Springs Road hit the streets, I got an email from Joel Ames with Liberty Utilities, thanking me for pointing it out and promising to have it looked into.

Two days later, I got another note saying it'd been taken care of.

Thanks, Joel. Now, about all those ditches y'all are digging ...

Seen something that needs attention? Contact me at 706-571-8570 or mowen@ledger-enquirer.com.

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