East Orange neighbors concered about dilapidated house

Phil Lipof reports from New Jersey
November 13, 2013 2:48:27 PM PST
There are concerns about a house in New Jersey that neighbors say is close to collapsing.

They say nobody is doing anything to fix it and the owner is nowhere to be found.

"I don't want it to fall on our house and destroy us," said Jessie Ottley, an East Orange resident.

At 81, the last thing Jessie Ottley should be worried about is the house next door collapsing on her, but you can see why she is.

340 Dodd Street has been abandoned for years. You don't have to be a structural engineer to see it's a danger.

The wood is rotten and the columns are barely holding up.

"(What's your biggest concern?) For it falling or hitting something down on my parents or my son or daughter," said Edith Ottley-Thompson, an East Orange resident.

Edith is Jessie's daughter. She has called the city several times and says they have put notices on the front door, but the house gets more dangerous by the day.

The stairs are one thing, you can see they are not safe to stand on. But the real problem is a column that's holding up the second floor porch and it doesn't look like it will hold for long.

If this wasn't bad enough, two blocks over 24 Cottage Place owned by the same person as 340 Dodd, has already partially come down.

What left of the back porch is being held up by one old rotten beam.

Allen Banks has been watching it deteriorate for years. He has a message for the city.

"They need to take care of their business and get all of these raggedy houses out of here, because like you say, it's a safety hazard," said Allen Banks, an East Orange resident.

The folks at city hall confirmed to Eyewitness News that the city thinks these houses are a danger.

In fact, the owner just skipped a court date last week. It is now rescheduled for next week.

Eyewitness News was told the city can't just take them down, there are guidelines to follow. That is not comforting at all to those who live near both homes.