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Nearly 500 days later, city finally demolishes empty fire-damaged house

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. -- A house on the near north side of Indianapolis that caught fire in March of 2018 has finally been demolished by a city contractor.

It took crews less than two days this week to remove the house, which was badly damaged in the fire and exposed to the elements. The fire also damaged Al Waton's childhood home next door, which his family recently put on the market after making repairs.

"The first thing people ask when they come to look at the house is, 'How about the burned up house next door?' ... I can’t say I blame them," Watson said.

Watson and his siblings contacted CBS4 Problem Solvers last October about their frustration with delays in demolition. Despite a judge signing off on a demolition order in May of 2018, city leaders said the wait for a house to be demolished stood at about a year.

The city did add the home, on Boulevard Place, to a demolition package in January. It took until July to issue a wrecking permit and then another month and a half for contractors to show up.

"I just thought this day would never happen," Watson said.

Watson and his sister watched as crews finished their work on Thursday. They said that it will be difficult to part with their late parents' home, but it is time to move on. Watson hoped that by talking about the delay in demolition, it could show how a vacant house can affect a neighborhood.

"I know there’s a lot of vacant and burned up houses across the city, and the court process takes some time, but they need to find a way to accelerate it," Watson said.

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