TUPPER LAKE - A severely cluttered house that was ruined by fire last May has yet to be cleaned up, and flooding is carrying debris from the site into Raquette Pond.
When the fire lit up a year ago, firefighters had trouble reaching the flames because the house was stuffed full of clothes and other items the owners had hoarded, and an excavator had to be brought in to tear the building apart.
Since then, the site has not been cleaned up due to a dispute over insurance money.
Debris outside a flooded Lake Street house floats out to Raquette Pond. The house burned in a May 2010 fire, but the site has yet to be cleaned up.
(Enterprise photo — Jessica Collier)
Village Code Enforcement Officer Pete Edwards said this morning the village is moving toward demolishing and cleaning up the site.
"Hopefully by June, that building will be gone," Edwards said. "The property will be cleaned up this year."
He said there's still time for the building's owners, Linda and Rodney Bashant, to prove they have contracts in place to get the site cleaned up. But they're still trying to settle a dispute over the insurance money.
Former owner Reta Woods, who lived in an apartment in the upstairs of the building, was also listed on the insurance, and the check for fire damage was made out to both Woods and the Bashants.
Edwards said attorney Doug Wright is working on the proceeding, and if the village demolishes the building, the cost will be added to the Bashants' taxes. That will give them some time to get the insurance issue settled, and then they can pay for the demolition in full, Edwards said.
Either way, Franklin County reimburses the village for demolition costs.
But in the meantime, Edwards said he's nervous about the flooding carrying away too much debris.
"Someone might have to go out with a boat or on the shoreline and just retrieve a lot of that," Edwards said.