A fire training exercise at a vacant home left behind charred rubble and a burnt structure on the corner of a busy Greenwood intersection, and the city is worried it could become an eyesore.
The Indianapolis Fire Department hosted training at the vacant house located on the northeast corner of Main Street and Graham Road during the Fire Department Instructors Conference earlier this month that brought more than 30,000 firefighters to Indianapolis.
But the house wasn’t burnt to the ground. The home is still standing with burnt siding, boarded up windows and peeled off roofing facing the traffic passing by.
Before the house was set on fire for training, Veritas Realty, the company selling the property where the house is located, was planning to have the house demolished and cleared, property manager Michelle Little said.
When the Indianapolis Fire Department approached the company with the request to use the home, Veritas agreed and postponed plans to have the house demolished until after the training, Little said.
Veritas Realty is planning to have the house demolished and the property cleared in the next three to six months, then it will try to sell the land, Little said.
That timetable is a little too long for city officials for several reasons. Greenwood Mayor Mark Myers is concerned about the home sitting vacant and half burnt for that period of time, visible to motorists passing by — and even worse — developers looking at the area, he said.
The house is located on about 20 acres and Veritas plans to target commercial development when the property is cleared, Little said.
Getting the house demolished sooner means less of an eyesore for the community and new development coming to the city’s east side a lot quicker, Myers said.
“I knew about the training, and I thought they would burn the house all the way down. We are going to have our code enforcement look to see if there’s any violations with the house and see if we can’t push them to move on the demolition a little bit faster,” Myers said.
The home has been boarded up since the training took place, which means it’s likely not in violation of Greenwood city rules, Myers said.
The Greenwood Fire Department was not involved in the training, Fire Chief James Sipes said. The department considered using what remained from the structure for live training, but more training would just mean more time until the house could be demolished and the property sold. And that means a longer period of time for the home to be an eyesore to the community, Sipes said.
Veritas is working to hire a company to tear down the house, Little said. When the home is cleared, Little will look for commercial retail or industrial developers that would fit in near the Precedent South Business Park, Little said.
The city has its hopes set on light industrial or manufacturing, office space or retail such as strip malls, drug stores or restaurants, Myers said.
“There’s a lot of options out there. I absolutely do not want warehousing. We’re really concerned with the appearance of Main Street coming into and leaving the city,” Myers said. “We want something that will look a little bit better, something that will enhance the look of Main Street.”