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Vacant homes causing problems in Tulsa; residents, firefighters concerned

Posted at 5:22 PM, Aug 01, 2016
and last updated 2016-08-01 18:25:18-04

TULSA -- Dozens of vacant homes sit throughout Tulsa, falling into disrepair and stressing residents who live in nearby.

After a vacant home in south Tulsa caught fire last night, neighbors question their safety.

Investigators are still trying to find out what started the flames on 55th early Sunday morning.

Neighbors say they're worried about who is behind it, and where they can turn to make this house a home again.

“It's going to have to have a lot of work done on it,” said neighbor Barbara Nix.

Nix has lived in her neighborhood 40 years. She’s seen a lot of people come and go, including the last family that moved out of the home across the street years ago.

“They discovered black mold under the kitchen and she said they just had to get out of there with the baby, they just couldn't take a chance,” she said.

She didn't give much thought to the empty home until last night when it caught fire.

“It had no power, no electric, it had no gas,” said Tulsa Fire District Chief Jon Steiner. “They have the potential to be more dangerous for us mainly because you don't know what's inside...”

What’s inside, nix fears, could be squatters. “If I thought about it, I'd probably get scared,” she said.

The city of Tulsa used to register these properties for clean up, but no more, thanks to a recent state law.

According to the city's website, inspectors are taking complaints of dilapidated buildings all over the city right now to find out what can be done.

For Nix, a new neighbor would be nice, but a view without the eyesore is good enough.

“It needs to have something done to it because it is a nice neighborhood, it really is,” Nix said.

The city of Tulsa does have a list of vacant properties slated for demolition. We've requested that information and how properties get on the list.

If you'd like to file a complaint on a property in your neighborhood, you can file it by clicking here, or call the Customer Care Center at (918) 596-2100.