About 8 a.m. this morning, residents of the Jordan Neighborhood heard numerous sirens and could plainly smell acrid, toxic smoke. Yet another problem property had blazed up, this time at 2610 Newton Ave. N.
The house in question seemed to be occupied, but the individuals there were suspected to be present under some razor thin claim of occupancy, and residents in the neighborhood strongly suspected prostitution and drug dealing at the address...
However, the property had a provisional rental license. It is unknown if the property is in foreclosure.
Even prior to this morning's fire, the house looked like a wreck with extensive damage to the siding. The lawn apparently hadn't tasted the blade of a mower all summer and the residents (or squatters) in the house wore a path to the side door through long, prairie-like grass. It was my understanding from a phone conversation with a police officer some weeks ago that the property had come to the attention of the "problem properties unit."
Now the problem will be how quickly to get it torn down. It doesn't take a trained eye to see the damage is far too massive for any kind of repair.
A fireman at the scene this morning answered my query and said nobody was hurt in the fire. Nobody with any claim to the house appeared to be present as the firemen did their work, including putting an extended truck ladder to the roof and second floor. Despite no resident being present as the fire was extinguished, there was evidence of occupation and people were seen occupying the property even a day or two ago. Numerous scorched possessions could be seen in the house including a closet with clothing piled three feet high, higgly-piggly, remnants of furniture, and a clock which might have been stopped at the time of the fire...assuming the battery had been changed in the last month or so, a somewhat daring assumption.
Mail had not accumulated at the property but appeared to be collected daily prior to the fire. A single piece of mail from "Headstart" was addressed to an apparent resident or former resident of the house, Dierra L. Bennet. Approximately two hours after the fire an individual from Neighborserv was boarding up the house, and informed me that "as of two days ago" he had the emergency boarding contract with the City of Minneapolis.