SHENANDOAH — Officials in Shenandoah hope that in a years’ time there will be a new housing development at the site of a deadly fire that also damaged or destroyed several buildings.
It was a fire so fierce, it rounded the corner from West Coal Street to Jardin Street in Shenandoah damaging nine buildings in its path in February 2013.
By daylight you could see sky through the windows of the green brick apartment house.
More than a year later the shell is gone but plenty of scars remain. One woman died from her injuries, and a number of people were left without a home.
“Every fire we try to come together.”
Jonathan Dixon lives across the street. He’s surprised at how long it’s taken to get the area cleaned up.
Through a hole in the wall you can still see shelves in what was once a shoe store.
“I am not sure who is doing the removal but it is a slow process for sure,” Dixon said. “It’s been a year and a half so I would say (that’s)pretty substantial.”
In the days after the fire, John Halford showed us the damage in in one of the apartments he owned. Now the property has been transformed.
On Jardin Street a garden now grows.
“I love it, I love it.”
“I was in an apartment before. Now I feel like I am in a home,” said Sandra Halford.
Sandra now enjoys a deck and a lawn.
“This kind of was a silver lining for me and that is terrible to say because there is a lot of sadness involved.”
Just a few steps away from Sandra’s new garden there is a building that is ready to collapse. She hopes it doesn’t fall on her fence.
Shenandoah borough officials tell Newswatch 16 they are working on a plan to clean up the damage and bring new housing to the neighborhood. Their goal is to get it done within a year.
Sandra says she understands why officials can’t move faster.
“I mean you are dealing with property owners who don’t live in the state, who are ignoring and not complying, most of those people had no insurance.”
She says she deals with the mess the best way she can.
“You know, it has been over a year, I stopped. It’s not even up here anymore. You have to, otherwise it would be so depressing.”