Work could start as early as this afternoon to demolish four York City homes damaged earlier this month by a fire that investigators later determined was intentionally set.
Steve Buffington, the city's building-code official, said he hopes the North West Street homes will be on the ground before Monday. There's a sense of urgency, he said, because the third floor of one home has already begun to collapse.
"Fortunately, it collapsed into the building, not out," Buffington said.
Buffington said he has ordered all four homes to be immediately demolished, though "immediately isn't always possible."
First, the gas lines must be disconnected. Crews from Columbia Gas of Pennsylvania were on scene this morning.
Investigators ruled the July 4 fire was caused by arson after finding "three distinct points of origin" on the second floor at 127 N. West St., a vacant rowhouse. The blaze displaced 34 people.
York City Police are still investigating.
Keith Logan, who lives next to one of the fire-damaged homes, said Friday morning that the situation has been stressful. There's been worry that an arsonist might come back to finish the job and concerns about neighborhood children exploring the ruined structures, he said.
Signs and barricades aren't effective ways to keep all of the kids out -- especially with how exposed the fire left one of the homes, Logan, 40, said.
"It looked like a freight train came through there," he said.- Erin James may also be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.