City demolishes well-known drug house in Hawthorne neighborhood

Crews had until Feb. 13 to demolish the home.
(KVLY)
Published: Jan. 4, 2023 at 12:30 PM CST|Updated: Jan. 19, 2023 at 4:24 PM CST
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FARGO, N.D. (Valley News Live) - UPDATE -- Officials began tearing down a well-known drug house in Fargo Thursday morning.

The house, located at 24 5th St. S. in the historic Hawthorne neighborhood, was labeled a “dangerous building” in July 2022. The city’s inspections department found multiple issues related to extensive water damage, foundation and structural stability, wiring, and overall cleanliness and habitability.

The property owner, Danial Curtis, was allowed 30 days to obtain the necessary permits to improve the residence and bring it into compliance with city code. However, city officials say Curtis did not meet these requirements.

In less than four years, police say officers responded to 550 calls for service at the house.

Crews had until Feb. 13 to have the house demolished. The property is expected to be completely demolished by the end of the day Friday.

Once that’s done, city officials say the lot will be re-seeded and prepped to be built on again. Curtis still owns the lot. Officials say he can do whatever he wants with the lot, including re-building on it.

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ORIGINAL -- After hundreds of police calls, several arrests, and months of back-and-forth between city leaders and a Fargo homeowner, the demolition process began Wednesday morning of a home known to be a local drug house near downtown Fargo.

The house located at 924 5th St. S., in Fargo’s historic Hawthorne neighborhood, was labeled a ‘dangerous building’ in July 2022 after the city’s inspections department found multiple issues related to extensive water damage, foundation and structural stability, wiring, and overall cleanliness and habitability.

Inspections violations date as far back as 2002, officials say. Once labeled a dangerous home, no one was to enter the property or continue living in the residence.

The property owner, Danial Curtis, was allowed 30 days to obtain the necessary permits to improve the residence and bring it into compliance with city code, however, city officials say Curtis did not meet these requirements. He was also afforded 30 days to formally appeal the designation, but officials with the city say this did not occur.

After 30 days without action from Curtis, the inspections department presented the home to the Fargo City Commission as a dangerous building during the September 19 commission meeting. In a 5-0 vote, the city attorney was directed to prepare the order for the removal of the house. The North Dakota Supreme Court denied Daniel Curtis’s appeal and The City of Fargo was granted a nuisance abatement.

As a result, the Inspections Department collaborated with The Fargo Police Department to clear the structures and begin the demolition process.

City officials say Curtis agreed to meet with city staff on the morning of Wednesday, Jan. 4, however, officials say Curtis did not show. When law enforcement went to the home to clear it, officials say more than ten people were removed from inside.

Daniel Curtis was arrested for violation of a court order prohibiting the occupation of the residence.

“Mr. Curtis has been very abrasive towards our office and towards the city itself. He feels it’s a personal thing against him and it’s not. It’s against the structures and it’s about safety,” Inspections Director Shawn Ouradnik said.

The Inspections Department and its contractors will now work to secure the structure, engage in the abatement of junk strewn about the exterior of the home and undertake asbestos testing.

Crews have until Feb. 13 to have the house demolished. Once that’s done, city officials say the lot will be re-seeded and prepped to be built on again.

Curtis still owns the lot, and officials say he can do whatever he wants with the lot, including re-building on it.

“The City of Fargo has afforded many opportunities for Mr. Curtis to complete the necessary steps to update this home and make it a safe structure. Unfortunately, the steps required have not been completed and action was taken today to ensure the safety of our residents.” Inspections Director Shawn Ouradnik said.

In less than four years, FPD says officers have responded to 550 calls for service at the house, and neighbors say large busts, like the one that happened in July, have been happening for years.

“They constantly have different people just living there, moving in and moving out. It’s just a high-traffic area. It’s a safe haven for addicts doing criminal things so, I can see why a lot of neighbors don’t want that there,” Briana Page said in a July 2022 interview with VNL.

A recovering meth addict, Page says she lived in the home on 5th St. S. for months and described the house as a place people use to consume their drugs more than anything else.

“There’s just a lot of addicts that come in and out of there,” she said.

Neighbors VNL spoke with on the scene Wednesday morning say they are overjoyed to finally see action being taken on a home they say has been an eye-sore and safety concern for years. One neighbor told us she and her neighbors can’t wait to celebrate once the demolition is all said and done.