Vacant homes causing a variety of problems in Jackson County neighborhood

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BLUE SUMMIT, Mo. — People in a Jackson County neighborhood no longer feel safe in their own homes. Families in Blue Summit say their small community is becoming a haven for vacant homes, drug activity and arsons. The deviant activity has left some residents upset with where things are going.

“I love it up here. This is a good community, the people who are up here now are good people,” resident Joe Emily said.

Emily has lived in Blue Summit for four years now. Recently, he’s seen his small community start to become abandoned.

“It is a problem,” Emily said.

“People aren’t able to keep up with their mortgage payments, they lose their houses, it’s definitely a growing trend,” fire chief Jeff Jewell said.

But the houses aren’t left empty for long. Jewell says the homeless community moves in as doors are left unlocked.

“You get those criminal activities going on in there. They’re burning copper or cooking meth. It can burn a whole neighborhood down,” Jewell said.

Flames engulfed a home after neighbors say a man bragged about setting it on fire. Now people worry that a nearby vacant house could be next, causing more worry because the house sits very close to a little girl’s window.

“We’re concerned for the family. If that thing goes up it’s gonna be a heck of a time trying to prevent it from burning the house next door. It’s a big problem,” Jewell said.

Some of the vacant homes have signs up, with dates on them indicating how much time the homeowner has to bring the home up-to-code.  If nothing is done to improve the home by that date, the process toward demolition begins.

“If you look at some of these dates on some of these tickets they’re December and even October,” Emily explained.

Jewell says without a solution, there could be more serious consequences.

“We really need to get these things removed before this becomes a bigger problem,” he said.

FOX 4 reached out to Jackson County for comment, and it released this statement:

There is a specific legal process that must be followed before a blighted home can be torn down. This involves time and expense. Several condemned houses in that area have already been torn down by Jackson County Public Works crews and there is a plan in place to continue the demolition. Public works officials say another house will be razed next month, with 3 more scheduled for demolition by the end of the year.

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