NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — A zombie home in Queens has neighbors calling on the city to take action.
The city said it has its hands tied, in part because the long time homeowner passed away.
The abandoned zombie home sits among the well-kept lawns and flower gardens of tree-lined 175th Place in Flushing.
“It’s dangerous, very dangerous — and the city won’t do anything about it,” Elaine Marmiroli told CBS2’s Brian Conybeare.
Marmiroli has lived on the block for 52 years and knew the house’s owner. She fears two junk cars stuffed with old newspapers and smashed windows could spark a fire.
The mold-infested house is inhabited by raccoons and rats, and mosquitoes swarm at night.
“It’s fallen into such disrepair, and then Franklin, the son, just disappeared a few years ago,” Marmiroli said. “He became a very big hoarder.”
The Department of Buildings currently has seven open violations on the property, but they keep sending them to the legal owner Stella Beckman, who died more than a decade ago.
After a fire in 2014, the city had the house sealed. Its windows and doors were filled with concrete.
There is no mortgage, and no bank to hold accountable — just a dead woman and her son whom no one can find.
City officials said they can’t legally tear down the house unless it poses an immediate danger.
A spokesman told CBS2: “Several city agencies inspected the property multiple times in recent months and found no conditions that are immediately hazardous to the public. We will continue to monitor the site closely.”
“That’s absurd. You cannot tell me that those cars filled with newspapers are not an immediate fire hazard,” Marmiroli said.
New York State Senator Tony Avella (D-Queens) said the city has the power to demolish the eyesore.
“Somebody has to take authority here and make a decision, but so far the city’s turned a blind eye to this,” he said.
Marmiroli said the house is dragging down property value.
“This is a middle class neighborhood. We all love our homes, and we’ve worked very hard for them. That’s all we have,” she said.
And they want something done.