KANSAS CITY, MO (KCTV) -- People in one KCMO neighborhood fear for their homes.

Vacant houses in the area are catching fire threatening nearby buildings.

There are at least four abandoned houses on one block alone. Two of them, caught fire last week.

As insurance adjusters inspect the two homes next to the charred remains of this vacant house, neighbors look on and fear their home could be next.

“I’m like ‘oh my god’ this whole area is getting a lot of houses burned,” said Maria Silva, homeowner.

Silva’s home almost got singed early this year when the vacant house next door, now an empty lot, caught fire.

“I’m pretty sure it’s homeless people that get in there. You know because they have nowhere else to go. I’m concerned about them too,” proclaimed Silva.

Kansas City, Missouri Fire Marshal Jimmy Walker, says vagrants get inside abandoned houses and start fires to try to keep warm.

“Since October first, we’ve had 4 fires that were caused by warming fires in vacant houses…. That’s just in a four-block area around that house,” explained Walker.

The city has 155 registered abandoned buildings in this zip code alone. This house is just right across the street from the one that burned last week.

“Registered being the key word. Because we could have anywhere from three to ten times that many. These are just the ones that have registered with the city,” exclaimed John Baccala, KCMO Neighborhoods and Housing Services Department.

It’s a long process for the city to take care of vacant properties, Jackson County can’t take the properties until taxes haven’t been paid for four years.

Once a property is on the demolition list, it’s a long, expensive process for that to happen as well.

“It’s something we’re always battling here in the city,” said Baccala.

This house on askew street that burned last week, was actually scheduled for demolition before it burned.

The city says if you see people inside an abandoned home, please call police and 3-1-1.

Officers will try to find other options for the people in the houses to keep warm and board up the houses, so others can’t get back inside.


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