SPRINGFIELD, MA (WGGB/WSHM) - Last Summer, a crumbling Bay Street house was demolished, because it posed a safety risk to neighbors.

Back in April, we reported on how neighbors were frustrated that the home was still a pile of debris.

We checked back in and found very little has changed since then.

Today, Western Mass News talked with neighbors who were initially hesitant to share their story when we covered this back in April.

Since then, they say the debris pile has only grown, rather than shrunk.

They say more vermin have moved in, more people have illegally dumped trash on the pile, and more weeds have grown to impressive heights.

"[You've been here since 1958? Both you and your wife?] Raised two kids. Still here," one neighbor tells us.

One neighbor on Bay Street tells Western Mass News he was home when the building at 1459 went from crumbling house to public safety hazard.

"Watched the chimney fall down over the top of the fence and it landed in the driveway. A couple bricks came over and almost hit the cars," the neighbor continued.

Almost a year has gone by since the home was demolished in August of 2018.

Based on the video we gathered Thursday, the pile has grown by a few Christmas trees and newly discarded furniture.

"They're just passing by and just dumping everything. We're seeing new things that haven’t been there," neighbor Alyson Zheng tells us.

It's not to say there's nothing living on the property.

"Our home, we’re getting a rodent problem. The mice, and there are some rats and we’ve had to chase them out of the garage. We’ve had to keep them out of the house," said one neighbor.

"If you had to live next to it, what would you want done?" asked another neighbor.

Springfield's Code Enforcement Commissioner says he understands their frustration.

Since we last spoke with him in April, he says they have learned something about the property owner they were desperately trying to contact.

"The owner was deceased, so we’ve contacted the actual heirs of the property. People make the mistake of not really setting up their estates right and it causes a lot of headaches," stated Code Enforcement Commissioner Steve Desilets.

The rights to the home have been signed away.

Now, the city can legally seek a receiver, a private developer interested in cleaning up the property.

That receiver must submit their cleanup plan by July 23 for approval.

"The understanding of a receiver is that it’s based on the emergency, the gravity of the situation this is something that’s got to be done right away," says Desilets.

There's a reason the cleanup means so much to this neighbor, and it's the same reason he doesn't want to show his face.

"My wife is still gonna stay," said one neighbor.

He's recently learned he's dying of cancer and, with only a few months to live, he wants to make sure his wife will have a safe, clean home after he's gone.

"I’d like to know that everything is going to get cleaned up, so my wife can have a nice outlook...It’s tough when it’s been your house all your life and, all of a sudden, you have this nextdoor to it," added one neighbor.

Desilets tells me this is the first time they have gotten a receivership for a house that had to be demolished as an emergency.

He says, if the property had a lot of outstanding tax debt, it could take a lot longer for the city to legally clean the property up, but, fortunately, Desilets says that's not the case.

Copyright 2019 Western Mass News (Meredith Corporation).  All rights reserved.

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