Spring clean up ordered for burned building

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WILTON – The clean up of a burned down residence on Depot Street will continue in the spring, after the snow has melted.

According to Code Enforcement Officer Paul Montague, the town’s Highway Department has already been on the property to remove the twisted metal remains of a home that burned down more than a year ago.

On October 6, 2007, a fire broke out in the house, located at 376 Depot Street, which was vacant at the time. The Wilton Fire & Rescue Department was assisted by five other local departments, and was able to save surrounding the buildings in the primarily residential area, but the home itself burned to the ground.

The owners are Karen and Michael Flagg, of Turner. Months after the fire inspectors and insurance company experts cleared the property, a scorched pile rubble remained on the property. Despite several efforts to engage the Flaggs, Montague eventually told the Board of Selectmen that he didn’t believe the Flaggs were interested in cleaning up the property.

“The owners have been pretty non-responsive,” Montague said at a Aug. 19, 2008, meeting. “I don’t think their going to do much of anything.”

Selectmen agreed to schedule a public hearing on the situation. At that hearing, they agreed that the property’s debris constituted a “dangerous building” and ordered that the owners remove the remains of the house and fill in the cellar. Several legal newspaper notices were posted, with the last notice scheduled to run Nov. 17, 2008. The Flaggs would have 30 days after that notice to clean up the property themselves.

That deadline came and went in December 2008, and the Highway Department went in to remove metallic debris. Selectmen have decided to postpone further clean up operations until spring.

Montague said that the cost of the cleanup would be paid for effectively by placing a tax lien on the property. He noted that the town’s actions were the last resort of the municipality in situations such as this.

“We sent letters, tried to get the owners involved,” he said today. “It’s a pretty long process.”

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