Take Down Abandoned Buildings

Retired city arson investigator Andy Fardy has some advice for the city attending recently to fires at vacant buildings: take them down. From Fardy:

The city has been experiencing a series of incendiary fires in the past two weeks. It never seems to end and reminds me of the ’70s and ’80s where buildings were burning on a daily basis. Many of these buildings have been abandoned by their former owners, many are the victims of foreclosure. The factories shut down, move away or go bankrupt and leave their building for the city to deal with.

What has the city done to handle these vacant buildings and vacant factories? The answer to that is easy, the city has done nothing, zero, zip, nada.

What could they do? Well they could take these buildings down themselves. We have purchased a large number of huge dump trucks and loading machines. If we need cranes or similar equipment you can rent from United Rentals here in Bridgeport.

Someone is going to ask why spend the money on vacant structures. Well, there are a couple of reasons. 1. It saves firefighters lives and firefighters don’t get injured at these vacant buildings. In the ’70s and ’80 we had eight firefighters killed in the line of duty. The elimination of these vacant buildings frees up firefighters to respond to real emergencies.

The other benefit of removing these vacant buildings is the people in the neighborhoods don’t have to worry about their dwelling being damaged when these vacant buildings get burned.

This and other administrations have ignored this problem for decades. You can bet if this were out by Saint Mary’s these buildings would be down before they burned. It’s because these vacant dwellings are in poor neighborhoods and the politicians don’t care.



  1. Andy, thanks for the reporting on the issue.
    Does anyone in the City keep track of “vacant” buildings? Some will be owned by an absentee owner who has given up, I understand. Others may be owned by the City or a bank. But a list of these available to the Police Department looking for occasional tenants without leases and Fire Department would seem to be in order. Just asking.
    The other story I have heard is about owners of multi-family residences being cited by City inspectors for failures. At least some of them have reached the end of their “business model” and refuse to throw good money after already sunk dollars. Their tenants are told by the City not to pay rent until the repairs are complete. So cash flow really goes badly and the landlord walks. On some occasions the City becomes the owner but the City does not make the improvement City inspectors were insisting upon. Is that crazy or what?
    Perhaps Council persons might also inquire about such a list of abandoned/vacant properties so as to be aware of conditions that may turn harmful for taxpaying, law-abiding residents. Time will tell.

  2. John, the city could take down these buildings at a minimal cost. They would need an equipment operator, who the city already employs. We would need three or four dump trucks and drivers that we already have and we’d need that overpaid group of dumb asses from the city attorney’s office. There is no reason the fire department should keep going to Remington Arms and AGI Rubber on a regular basis, one day a firefighter or civilian is going to get injured or killed because of these fires and the response required.

  3. I agree, take them down! The sooner the better. Charge the owner. The city has a person responsible for blight who is also an elected official. Just do it.

  4. I can’t imagine how horrible it must be to own a property next to or across the street from those broken-down rat traps. It not only depreciates the value of their properties but it must be awfully difficult to attract a tenant or a buyer. They should be demolished immediately–regardless of who owns it, the city needs to just do it.


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