Code Enforcement: How the city handles unsafe or unlivable homes - KRISTV.com | Continuous News Coverage | Corpus Christi

Code Enforcement: How the city handles unsafe or unlivable homes

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Vacant buildings in the city can present a big safety concern because of their condition. Homes that sit empty for long periods of time are vulnerable to things like poor infrastructure and collapsed walls. Buildings like these also tend to be a place where homeless gather. But Corpus Christi’s Fire Department and Code Enforcement are taking action to make sure sub-standard buildings don’t become a problem or a safety hazard.

A home on the 1000 block of Third Street, is one of those homes considered vacant and unlivable. On Monday morning, the home caught fire for the second time in several years. Captain James Brown, with the Fire Department, said now, the home isn’t structurally safe go in to.

“Our goal is to keep anyone from being injured,” Captain Brown said.

That’s when the Fire Department and Code Enforcement step in. But unfortunately, to get rid of what’s considered a sub-standard building like the one on Third Street, can take time.

The City first contacted the owners of the home two years ago. That’s the first step in resolving the safety issue. But there is a sense of urgency with buildings like this, especially after withstanding two fires that have made it unsafe.

“When fire attacks a building like this, it attacks the internal structure. It just makes the whole thing unsafe,” Captain Brown said. “Gravity at some point will win, and cause the building to come down.”

Code enforcement will ask the homeowners to either tear the building down or fix it. The city’s recommendation depends on the condition of the building. If it’s torn down, it will be the homeowners’ responsibility to pay the cost.

The process is lengthy, but is a good measure to take, to keep people safe. 

For those who do enter sub-standard buildings, the fire department has a message they want to get across.

“Don’t go in. Chances are if you go in, you might not make it out,” Captain Brown said.

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