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Frozen in time: Homes damaged by June explosion left crumbling

Neighbors want a plan to clean up the area
Posted: 6:13 PM, Aug 22, 2018
Updated: 2018-08-22 22:13:09Z

Nearly three months after a deadly explosion rocked an East Cleveland neighborhood, the scars still line E. 125th Street.

"I don't understand what's going on," Veronica Lane said as she stood facing the row of damaged homes on her block. "There's been zero activity."

At least six homes were heavily damaged when police said a group of people looking to steal scrap metal broke into a home and removed appliances, causing the house to fill with gas and eventually explode.

That was on June 10. On Wednesday, many of the homes looked the same as they did following the blast. Walls were missing, siding flapped in the breeze and windows blown from their frames hung off of homes.

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"It's just a mess," Lane said. "We're taking a beating for something we didn't do and didn't have anything to do with whatsoever."

And the homes aren't just eyesores. Neighbors said they've become magnets for scavengers.

"Hot water tank, furnaces, cabinets, whatever didn't get blown up, they come in and get," said Gary Coleman, who lives near the scene. "The house is blown wide open. All they got to do is climb up in there."

Neighbors said it's time for someone to come up with a plan for the properties. But both Coleman and Lane said they haven't heard anything from city leaders.

News 5 left several messages for East Cleveland's mayor and a message for the councilwoman who represents the neighborhood to find out what, if anything, the city plans to do. So far, no one has responded. 

"I just don't see no hope or no help," Lane said. "Right now I feel tears burning in my eyes."