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YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WYTV) – A woman in Youngstown is mad tonight after city officials tore down her house this morning without her approval.
She says she was in the process of making repairs on the home after someone set it on fire twice last year.
Lillie Rodgers lived at a house on the city’s east side for more than 20 years.
After the two fires, one last July and then other in December, she said she still wanted to save her house that meant so much to her. But today, she’s homeless.
“I raised my children, my husband got killed in this house. It’s a lot of me,” Rodgers said.
She was in tears looking at what was left of her home, where she created so many memories. Wednesday morning, she got a call saying crews were on her property, about to tear it down.
“My attorney told me to go downtown. So when I go downtown on the fifth floor, I talked to this young lady and she was very rude. And I was asking her about different things and said, ‘We gave you a letter,'” Rodgers said.
Rodgers got a letter from the fire chief after the first fire in July. It says that due to the fire and the state of the house, the property must be cleaned or demolished. Nothing was done to the house after this letter, and then it caught fire again in December.
“I’ve been getting people to come and get me estimates and stuff on the house, ’cause we’re going to work on the house when the spring breaks, it’s winter time,” Rodgers said.
Youngstown Fire Chief John O’Neill said the house was beyond repair.
“This was not a hard call. It was structurally compromised, and it had to come down. It was a public danger,” O’Neill said.
“How do you do this? It’s all kind of houses, way more deplorable than mine, my structure was good, and they destroyed my home,” Rodgers said.
Rodgers says she knew she had to gut the house, but had plans to rebuild.
“If they wanted to, going on a stretch on this one, and repair the house, they should have immediately drawn a building permit, submitted plans to the city on how they were going to repair the building,” O’Neill said.
“Where they do that at? Tell me where they do that? If I step on my property to do anything, I got to come downtown to the city to get a permit? Really?” Rodgers said.
Rodgers says this is not the last time officials will hear from her.
“I want justice. Because my home shouldn’t be torn down.”