Residences being remodeled for affordable housing torched - KCTV5

Residences being remodeled for affordable housing torched

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The owner of a daycare is devastated after someone torched the two houses she intended to turn into affordable housing.

The back doors to both the houses had been kicked in. Evidence inside the residences indicated that the fires at 55th Street and Highland Avenue had been set on the ground floors.

A woman who owns a nearby daycare had bought one of the two houses and was in the process of buying the second.

She told KCTV5 that she wanted to turn them into affordable housing and help create pride in the neighborhood.

Those dreams are now ashes.

Authorities say the fires are intentionally set, and neighbors believe the houses were targeted.

"It seems pretty obvious somebody had bad intentions and maybe set fire to both houses," said Blue Hills neighborhood association president Paul Tancredi. "The houses aren't in close enough proximity that one fire would have leapt to the other."

Firefighters say that the fires were separate and that one fire did not spread to the second house.

The home owned by the daycare owner suffered the least amount of damage, and she still hopes to remodel it. The damage was primarily confined to the interior. The second house saw extensive damage to both the interior and exterior.

The Land Bank of Kansas City, which hopes to get abandoned homes back onto the tax rolls, still owns the more heavily damaged home, but had approved the daycare owner's bid. The Land Bank of Kansas City now won't allow the sale to go through due to the damage, and will have the house demolished. The Land Bank will have to start from scratch in trying to sell the vacant lot.

"This is a sad situation because we had a property that was in the middle of a turnaround and it would have really helped that block and that neighborhood," said Ted Anderson of the Land Bank. "A lot of folks out there are trying to fix up that neighborhood. It looked like this was going to be a success. Now we've got another burned out building and probably another vacant lot pretty soon."

Reggie King who lives in the neighborhood said he is disappointed by the crime. He said the new owner was working hard to spruce them up.

The homes are in the 1700 block of 55th Street.

No firefighters were hurt while battling the blaze.

The Kansas City Fire Department's bomb and arson squad is investigating the cause.

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