FEMA explains how dangerous abandoned buildings are:
Every firefighter knows that vacant or abandoned buildings are a significant public safety issue. These structures are unsightly, attract criminal activity, and are a threat to public safety where they exist. Fire is intertwined with abandonment, as both a cause and an undesired side effect. Injuries to firefighters in unsecured vacant and abandoned properties are linked to the hazards that are present in them.
Building deterioration due to age, weather, urban mining, vandalism, and accumulation of combustible materials (trash), etc., are all reasons for the dangerous conditions. The more deterioration, the more dangerous and unsightly the building becomes. This condition is made worse if the building is also occupied or used by unauthorized occupants to provide shelter, to hide or play in, or to conduct criminal activity…There are four actions communities can take to reduce the negative impact and blight associated with unsecured vacant and abandoned buildings.
FEMA goes on to explain that the best thing to do with an abandoned building is to board it up, known as “securing” or “mothballing”. Mothballing a building greatly slows its deterioration, as wildlife, the weather, and people are kept out.
The photo at the top of this page is of a mothballed home. It’s easy to be opposed to something in the abstract. But look at that photo! Would you want to live next door to that house? It literally looks like a haunted house. Remember, this is the best case scenario for an abandoned foreclosure. This building has been properly secured to prevent unnecessary deterioration and criminals from entering, and it is a disgusting eyesore for neighbors. A worst case scenario is a building that looks the same but is also a harbor for criminal activity or is hit by a thrill-seeking arsonist.
Clearly, it would be far better if the occupants were still living in the home. That’s why it’s so important to prevent foreclosures so homes don’t need to be boarded up like this.
Image: An abandoned, mothballed home. Kevin Krejci / Flickr