West Fargo Neighbors raise concerns over abandoned complex - Valley News Live - KVLY/KXJB - Fargo/Grand Forks

West Fargo Neighbors raise concerns over abandoned complex

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 A West Fargo fire forced five families from their homes last spring, but neighbors are still looking at the remains.

A frustrated neighbor who is worried about safety and the health of those in the neighborhood and wants to know when the building can be taken care of decided to blow the whistle.

"Imagine what was left in there and what's growing in there and what animals are in there...you don't know...and living right next door, that's not very comforting," says neighbor Tiffany Marquart.

Marquart has looked at the eye sore since fire swept through the building in April 2013. Now more than a year later, windows are broken, the grass is knee high and doors are wide open.

"It's a concern because I have kids and I know kids are curious, so who is to stop them from going into these buildings?" she says.

West Fargo city officials say there are a few factors that make this a difficult fix: Five different mortgages, five different insurance companies, five different degrees of damage, one foundation.

City administrator Jim Brownlee says the time to take care of an abandoned home is really between the owner and the insurance company. Only under certain conditions can the city step in.

"If it's a hazardous building, in other words a threat to the public, then the city has authority to go in and order the building to be taken down," says Brownlee.

Valley News Live made a call to the realty company NAI North Central Commercial Real Estate Services who says the sale of the property is supposed to go through at the end of the month. In the meantime, residents like Marquart are hoping for a fence to help with safety concerns.

"I'm surprised we haven't had transients or people doing who knows what in them, but, you know, I think it should be inaccessible to the public for sure," she says.

West Fargo city officials say the the complex would need to be demolished. The Sheyenne River in the building's back yard makes the soil shift and sink, so the ground needs to be tested for stability before another building could be built.

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