5-alarm Sanford fire spawns emergency city council meeting

Investigators continue to comb through Sanford fire

*UPDATE* 10/23 8:15 p.m. – Sanford's city council on Monday night voted to implement cleanup plans.

The property located at 28 Thompson St has been ordered to be boarded up within 24 hours, and the two properties destroyed in the fire — 33 Island Ave and 35 Island Ave — have been ordered to be cleaned up, with debris removed by an independent bidder.

The city council says that bidder will also be responsible for the demolition and debris cleanup for the property located at 28 Thompson St.

Sanford Mayor Thomas Cote called the aftermath "a mess" and said he was initially surprised one particular building didn't come down already, though now understands the risk that was involved.

"I don’t feel that they’re doing enough and in a quick and timely fashion to get the landlords and property owners to clean up their acts," said Thompson Street resident Kari Zielke. "33 Island [Ave] had a rap sheet about 3 inches thick of violations.”

SANFORD, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- Ordinances enforcing inspections and debris clean up will be the focus of an emergency city council meeting in Sanford on Monday.

This comes following Thursday's massive fire which destroyed and damaged half a dozen buildings.
The fire started in a multi-unit building, no one was seriously injured.

Investigators say the cause of the fire is undetermined but don't believe it was deliberately set.

Investigators recently made a drug arrest at this building that went up in flames. They say there were mountains of trash, dead rats and as many as 20 people were illegally living in the building as so-called squatters.

City officials say the owners of the building, Harry and Geraldine Farris, were notified earlier this week that they needed to clean up the trash around the building. Officials say enforcing the city's Safe Housing ordinances which require apartment buildings to be licensed and abandoned buildings inspected will improve living conditions for tenants. Neighbors say they hope those regulations are in place before the buildings are rebuilt.

"If they do in fact rebuild it I think making sure there are sufficient background checks and have attentive landlords that will definitely help the area," said Kari Zielke.

The meeting will be held Monday at 5 pm at Sanford City Hall.

© 2017 WLBZ-TV


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