Enfield Apartment Still an Eyesore Nearly 4 Years After Fire

People in one Enfield neighborhood said a burned out and blighted apartment building isn't doing any good for their tidy neighborhood.

"It's your property. You got paid for it, tear it down- it needs to come down, it's an eyesore for the neighborhood," Paul Reddell told the NBC Connecticut Troubleshooters.

The property caught fire three and a half years ago and residents say it still looks exactly as it did back then.

The owner blames the town and the town blames the owner. Neighbors don't know who to blame, but they said they want something done.

"It’s got to come down, but for some reason, the town isn't getting on the owner's butt about it," Reddell said. "It’s an eyesore, it's been boarded up two or three times, with kids playing there."

NBC Connecticut was there when flames ripped through the multi-family home on Church Street in Enfield, days before Christmas in 2013

"It's horrible, the grass is overgrown, I mean, there's garbage on the street. I'm always picking it up," Lisa Squires said.

Realtor Henry Foley owns Century 21 in town and said someone almost bought the apartment. 

"I had it for sale, we had a deposit on it. But there were so many blight fees from the Town of Enfield, the buyer couldn't put the deal together so he walked away," Foley said. 

NBC Connecticut Troubleshooters requested the numbers from the town hall. According to the assessor’s office, taxes owed since February total more than $17,000.

Town Manager Bryan Chodkowski told NBC Connecticut to tack on another $185,000 for blight ordinance fees, liens, penalties and fines.

Chodkowski said it will be sold at auction in September.

"The total property will be listed for sale at auction somewhere around $225,000.00. Assuming no one is willing to purchase that property at that value then what we will do, the town will acquire that parcel for this fee of $1," Chodkowski said.

Chodkowski called John T. Forrest a non-responsive property owner, but he admits there's no one size fits all solution.

"If the owner's willing to step forward and engage the town in a discussion between now and the tax sale we're more than happy to sit and meet with him to try and come up with a resolution,” Chodkowski said.

By phone,  Forrest said, "My position is I had a buyer two years ago and the town wouldn't move the price down to work with the local contractor in town. Ever since I haven't been able to get a buyer to take it off my hands."

A response people living on the same street don't want to hear.

"It makes the neighborhood look like trash. I think they should get a hold of the landlord and make him pay to tear it down," Redell said.

By the time the house does sell after that September sale, it could take as long as a year before the property is demolished.

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