Regarding the front page story in The Bee (Dec. 15) about a fire in a vacant home: Blame is being placed on the property owner for the death of five people who broke into a vacant, boarded-up house, did drugs, started a fire to keep warm and ate all the food meant for a woman and five children.
It appears this owner was trying to rehabilitate the home with double-paned windows, fresh paint and who knows what was attempted on the inside.
I have properties that were falling into disrepair and attempted to have them repaired. I had to have someone there 24 hours a day to prevent vandals from taking everything. They did get a paint sprayer and tools before I realized I had to have someone on the premises at all times.
The home that burned with a tragic loss of life was boarded up. These vagrants simply ripped the plywood coverings off, trespassed and commenced to destroy the property. I suppose the property owner will be sued for covering the windows and preventing an escape.
Owners of vacant properties are really attempting repairs, but vandals continue to undo repairs as soon as they are made. If the city really wants these eyesores eliminated, they should offer low-cost demolition and get rid of the problem, take the properties off the tax rolls and fence vacant lots. They will soon be the homes of vagrants erecting tents.
Placing see-through plastic over windows will not help. Vagrants will just tear these off and destroy the homes anyway.
Frank T. Ward, Fresno