Ask Joe: City issues six citations but Sparks home is still an eyesore

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From the Ask Joe file, we are looking into a question about an eyesore in Sparks that neighbors are getting tired of seeing.

Wendy reached out on Facebook and asked what's happening with the house in her neighborhood that burned more than a year ago. She says it's boarded up and looks terrible, and she wants to know what can be done to get it cleaned up.

Here's what I found out:

The home on Caldera Way near Los Altos Parkway caught fire in October 2016, 15 months ago.

I checked with Sparks Fire Marshal Bob King, who says one person was killed in the fire. It started in the family room, but investigators never figured out how it started.

King also said once the fire department finished the investigation, their primary focus was making sure the home was secure so that no one could get inside. It is easy to see from the outside of the house -- the windows are boarded up to keep people out.

So what happens now? I checked with Julie Dewuell with the city of Sparks. She says they can't force the property owner to tear it down or rebuild, but they have issued six citations ordering them to clean up the property and obviously that hasn't happened.

Duewell says the city’s code enforcement department is trying to figure that out. They have sent a follow-up letter to the surviving property owner urging them to get things cleaned up, and they are waiting for a response.

So whether it's a financial issue or something else holding this up is not clear. City officials say they're doing their best and using the power they have to get the house cleaned up. It is proving to be an ongoing battle.

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