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City drafting procedures on repairs to damaged properties

February 22, 2007|by KAREN HANNA

One of the owners of three apartment buildings damaged by fires in recent days has contacted the City of Hagerstown about fixing the structure, building inspector Michael Heyser said Wednesday.

City staff are preparing draft procedures that detail the city's expectations about property rehabilitation after fires for approval by the City Council, Heyser said.

"This is a tragic event for most property owners, and we try to give them some flexibility in how they deal with it, although not too much," Heyser said.

Beside plans to inspect the structure of a South Locust Street building damaged Tuesday by fire, Heyser said he plans to get in touch today with the owner of an abandoned building on West Franklin Street, where the city's last fire fatality occurred.

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Lindsay Gene Haley, 27, died Aug. 25, 2006, in 65-67 W. Franklin St.

"With something like that, there was virtually no structural damage, and the property is secure enough that it is not going to be damaged. We didn't push it too much," Heyser said.

Most owners contact the city fairly quickly with plans to repair their structures, but that has not happened with the West Franklin Street building, he said.

Buildings that sustain structural damage must be fixed immediately. Owners of property that is not compliant with city code also can be fined, Heyser said.

"We like to have - we hope to have - a schedule of repairs within 90 days," he said.

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