Cleveland residents complain about slow hazardous home demolition response time

2-year-old girl nearly abducted into vacant home
Posted at 10:29 PM, Aug 28, 2017
and last updated 2017-08-29 08:00:16-04

Cleveland residents living on both the cities east and west sides are calling for quicker response time from the city when it comes to tearing down potentially hazardous vacant homes.

The demand for fast-tracking demolitions was made after a 2-year-old girl was nearly abducted, and taken into an abandoned  home on W. 88 Street, over the weekend.

Kim Hammad told News 5 the house has been on the city demolition list since late 2014, and was even the subject of a 2015 search warrant, after police responded to chronic drug activity at the condemned house.

Hammad said said she's tried everything to get the city to follow through with taking the home down.

"If children are being put in danger or something, that's too much, that's a deal breaker," said Hammad.

"He grabbed the little girl's wrist, he grabbed her wrist, and I said who.  They said some guy from in that house."

Hammad said there is no way it should take nearly three years for a home on the demolition list to be taken down.

She believes the city needs to do a better job in prioritizing vacant homes that are the subject of police reports or drug activity.

"I think you have pick the ones that are either infringing or causing a problem with the home next to them.  Or where something bad is happening, like here," said Hammad.

Damon DeFreeze, his 14-year-old daughter's body found in a vacant Cleveland home in January, believes the city needs to come with a better system in getting more vacant homes taken down annually.

DeFreeze said the city has not lived up its promise to take down 500 vacant homes before the beginning of the school year.

"It's gut wrenching to know that this could possibly happen again," said DeFreeze.   "I will happen again."

"We were promised 500 houses would be torn down, I don't think we're close to that number at all.  Something needs to be done."

News 5 reached out to the Cleveland Mayor's office for this story, looking to get a status report on a demolition date for the home on W. 88, we're still waiting for a response.

Cleveland Councilman Brian Cummins told News 5 the city department of building and housing vowed to move-up the date for demolition, after the attempted abduction.