STEAD, Nev-- We still don't know what caused a fire which destroyed three abandoned homes in Stead Tuesday. The City of Reno says the homes became a nuisance years ago, and they were doing everything in their power to get them torn down.
The three homes were remnants of the housing boom. They were half finished when the housing bubble burst. They were then abandoned and soon after became a nuisance.
Neighbors noticed the homes are an eyesore and a magnet for transient activity. They did everything in their power to get them torn down.
"I wish somebody would have followed through with what they said a year ago, saying that they were going to demolish them," said neighbor Amanda Rodrieguez.
In early 2012, neighbors thought their wish had come true. The plighted homes got a lot of attention when three of them burned to the ground. At that time, the city said removing the homes would be a priority.
A year and a half later, many were still standing until Tuesday's fire reduced three more to rubble.
The first fire company to respond was familiar with the homes. They too wanted the structures torn down. So what has been holding up the process?
"Those homes, they are not habitable, we have gone out there, we have assessed them they are not homes we would want anyone buying," said Reno Code Enforcement Manager Alex Woodley.
Woodley says the city red tagged the houses and did its best to get them destroyed. The developer had skipped town, which meant the city would have to pay for the demolition, with money it did not have.
"To actually tear down several homes which at the time was about 12 homes, that would have been a significant cost to the tax payers," said Woodley.
There is an end in sight, in the last two months, litigation put a new owner in charge. The city says they are cooperating.