Firefighters called three times to abandoned Willoughby home

Fire department frustrated by inability to demolish trouble house.

Langley Township firefighters were called to the same abandoned home three times over the weekend, and the fire department is frustrated that the home still stands and a demolition order is tied up in red tape.

The home, a well-known structure at the southwest corner of the busy intersection of 208 Street and 72 Avenue, has been abandonded for more than two years. The property owners live outside the country. The property is in an area of new development.

Assistant chief Pat Walker said the first call came in at 9:30 p.m. Saturday, when the fire department responded to a call of a fire set outside the home, along the exterior walls.

That fire was extinguished.

At 6:55 a.m. on Sunday, the fire department was called back to the home, at 20790 72 Ave.

On that occasion, a fire had been set in what was once the living room area. The walls have been destroyed by vandals who have repeatedly entered the home, so there is no separation when a fire breaks out, Walker said.

The firefighters extinguished the fire, but were called back to the home just before 11 p.m. Sunday. The fire at that time may have been the result of another attempted arson, but it is possible that it was a spot fire that flared up as a result of the earlier blazes, Walker said.

He said the fire department is working with Langley Township’s bylaws and building departments to expedite demolition of the house, but because the owners do not live in Canada, and there must be proper notification, the Township cannot order it demolished until all legal steps have been taken.

Walker said thatj3

after the home was vacated, it was properly boarded up. But vandals worked their way in and have destroyed the interior, causing trouble in the neighbourhood and, as was the case this weekend, setting fires.

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