CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — Ben Drake says he and his family have lived in their home on Tenth Street in Aransas Pass since 1980. Never had any problems.
Until last May, when the house next door burned down.
"Well see, when this house caught fire, then my house caught on fire," Drake told Troubleshooters.
But Drake's insurance company paid to fix his house. As for next door, the Drake’s and their neighbors have had to look at the burned up property everyday for a year now.
The burned out house with a small abandoned camper in the backyard, nearly hidden by weeds, and tall, uncut grass growing all around it, right on the corner of Tenth and Nelson. You can’t miss it.
There’s also an elementary school across the street, so some kids walk past the house on their way to school.
In fact, Mr. Drake told the Troubleshooters he recently saw people in the camper.
Andy: "In here? There's somebody living in here?
Drake: "Well, they was trying to," he said as we both looked at the camper, nearly hidden by tall, uncut grass and weeds.
"It was a young lady and a couple of kids trying to stay there," said Drake.
Drake told the Troubleshooters he and other neighbors have tried to bring the house next door to the attention of city leaders, so something could be done, finally. But since the city hadn’t responded, the Drake’s called us.
After the Troubleshooters' repeated attempts to contact someone with the city of Aransas Pass for an interview for our story about this particular property, City Manager Gary Edwards agreed to meet us at the site.
"We have not been to find the owners. And we can’t just willy nilly take a house down. We have to work with the owners," Edwards told us.
And wouldn’t you know it, they finally found them.
Edwards said when he arrived at the house for our interview, the owners of the property were there, and they talked with him about the demolition of the property.
"The owners indicated they want to partner with us on that. So that would help it even more," said Edwards.
In other words, the owners of the property want to help the city pay for the demolition.They were not at the property when the Troubleshooters arrived.
Edwards said Aransas Pass has a committee that handles demolitions, and estimates they’ve done 120 or so just in the last two years, which he says is a phenomenal number.
And as far as the Drakes are concerned, they say the problem with the house still standing is, "well you can still smell the smoke from 13 months back."