Problem property in Sparks industrial area burns again

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SPARKS, Nev. (KOLO) - It was once home to one of the area's major attractions -- the Harrah's Automobile Collection. But in recent years, a property in the Sparks industrial area has sat abandoned, open to all sorts of unwanted and illegal activity.

Taggers decorated it, the homeless camped there and others used it as an illegal dumping ground.

And there have been fires. Last year five of them in the span of almost as many weeks. They were never officially called arson, but the origins of all were suspicious. There's no power to the property, nothing that should spark a fire on it's own.

Monday, November 4, 2019, there was another one.

Fire officials have noted before that each fire leaves the buildings weakened and more dangerous; to the point that they were reluctant to commit firefighters to the interiors.

There was no need to risk anyone Monday. In fact, the structures that burned won't threaten in the future. Sparks firefighters pulled down the walls of one well burned building. Fire Chief Jim Reid said the others would be pulled down by the end of the day.

The city, tired of this nuisance, finally tracked down the absentee owner and in February he paid $27,000 in back fines and put a barbed wire fence around the place. But since May that attention has lagged. Trash and other problems have persisted and he's been fined by the city's code enforcement officers to the tune of a thousand dollars every 10 days. He's paid some citations, but as of today owed more than $10,000 dollars.

And there's concern with what could be coming.

"Unfortunately we are coming up on winter, so we are encouraging him to keep that a clean and secure place," says city spokeswoman Julie Duewel.

They're doing more than offering encouragement. The city has filed multiple misdemeanor charges against the owner and issued arrest warrants for him. He reportedly lives in New York.

Copyright KOLO-TV 2019