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Blight Causing Another Collapse In Schuylkill County?

POTTSVILLE — A woman in Schuylkill County is fighting blight after a ceiling collapsed. She says it caved in because of the vacant, dilapidated property next door.

The woman we spoke with says the vacant house next to her home in Pottsville has been a problem for years. She says every time she’s contacted city code enforcement, nothing has happened.

But code enforcement tells us blighted properties are harder to get rid of than you may think.

Every step to the second floor of Michelle Schoenfelder’s home in Pottsville¬†¬† is a step in dirt, all because of a hole where a ceiling caved in over the weekend.

“Everything was on the floor. The ceiling was dangling. “

Schoenfelder blames the vacant property next door on South Second Street. It’s attached to her home and she says water from there leaks into her place.

Schoenfelder says she’s called Pottsville code enforcement about the property many times over the years but feels she’s being ignored.

“It’s like nobody wants to hear what I’m trying to say. It’s like my voice isn’t being heard.”

But code enforcement officer Dave Petravich says there’s only so much the city can do.

“They responded once, but they removed the deck in the back, but since then they haven’t responded to any others.”

Petravich says he can’t contact the business that owns the property again until a contractor comes in and confirms that the problems in Schoenfelder’s home are a result of the other property.

The vacant house is number 47 on the city’s blight list of more than 100 properties.

“The city is addressing the blight properties. They have a blight task force together. We meet once a month,” Petravich said.

And while Schoenfelder has a contractor coming to look at her home later this week, she just wishes something more could be done.

“Fix it. Maintain it. Do whatever they can so we don’t have to live in ‘what’s next.'”

Schoenfelder says if the contractor coming to look at her property says her caved-in ceiling was caused by the property next door, Pottsville code enforcement says it’ll notify and possibly even cite that property owner.

Schoenfelder says she’s thankful insurance will likely cover the ceiling collapse.

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