SHEFFIELD — Bill Reynolds had finally received an insurance check that will allow him to have his old burned out Kentucky Avenue home demolished when he learned the house had been placed on the city's nuisance property list.
Reynolds said he took the check to Mayor Ian Sanford's office Tuesday and informed him the situation would soon be addressed.
"I've been waiting for a year to settle," Reynolds said as he waited for a crew of men from P&H Construction to come remove items from his garage and place them in storage.
Reynolds' home was one of six residential structures placed on the nuisance property list by the City Council.
"They were all burnouts," Sanford said. "The owners hadn't acted on them."
The houses are located at 1407 S.W. 12th St., 124 Kentucky Ave., 1210 S. Nashville Ave., 413 and 415 Austin Ave., and 610 N. Columbia Ave. All of them were damaged by fire, Public Safety Director and Sheffield Fire Chief Dewey King said.
Sanford said he spoke to Reynolds and was glad to hear his house would be torn down. He said the city will continue to monitor the process.
King said the homes were placed on the list due to complaints from neighbors or the fact they've been eyesores far too long.
He said Reynolds' home burned on June 28, 2018, but a residence at 1407 S.W. 12th Street burned on Oct. 25, 2016.
King said a man entered the house at 1210 S. Nashville Ave. and started a fire in the fireplace. Somehow, the house caught fire and the man perished in the blaze, King said.
When the house at 413 Austin Ave. caught fire, it spread and burned the house next door at 415 Austin Ave. A gaping hole in the side of 413 Austin Ave. reveals old clothes and other items still inside.
All of the houses had notices posted on them by Building Official Charlie Grimmitt.
Sanford said the owners have 30 days to appear before the council to explain how they're going to rectify their situations. They could have the buildings demolished or show the council that they intend to renovate the structures.
If they fail to appear, they will be issued a summons to municipal court. If the owner disagrees with the judge's ruling, they can appeal it to Colbert County Circuit Court, King said. If the circuit judge rules in the city's favor, they can order the owner to demolish the structure.
The city can also have a lien attached to the property and have it torn down. If anyone buys the property, they would first have to satisfy the lien.
Sanford said that is an expensive option.
Still, the mayor said there will be additional houses added to the nuisance list.
"Nobody should have to live next door to that," he said.
He said one neighbor was frustrated because she had buyers interested in her home, but were hesitant to purchase it because of a burned out house next door.
Two of Reynolds' neighbors on Kentucky Avenue said they were sympathetic to Reynolds' dispute with his insurance company. Reynolds and his wife moved to Tuscumbia after the fire.
"I understood Bill's situation," neighbor William White said.
White said he caught people trying to enter the home, which still contained personal items.