Demolition of 33 homes begins in Richmond Hill subdivision this week, continues through December

Costs of demolition homeowners' responsibility

INDIANAPOLIS - Dozens of homes damaged by the deadly south side explosion in the Richmond Hill subdivision have been slated for demolition.

Vicky Koerner's home is among the first targeted for demolition.

By the time fire trucks arrived the night of the explosion, Vicky Koerner and her family were out of their home.

Daylight exposed the extent of the damage.

"When the explosion happened, the house shifted," Koerner said.

Under city supervision, the Koerners were given one hour to pull out their valuables.

"We can overcome, we can overcome anything," Koerner said. "God pulled us out. He's not leaving us. He's not leaving us to fear the future or financial woes."

Finding a crew and scheduling the demolition work was made difficult because of the Thanksgiving weekend.

The cost of tearing down a house will be the responsibility of each homeowner and their insurance company.

The city hasn't heard yet from any demolition companies seeking to get the job done, but the Department of Code Enforcement expects a majority of the removals will occur in December, weather permitting.

"This is something we are not going to allow to linger, mostly because it's really a safety condition for all those people live near that area," said Adam Collins, with the Department of Code Enforcement. "So we want to make sure that this is being handled as quickly as possible."

It's slow going in the Richmond Hill subdivision as the investigation continues, and residents there are saying they are ready to move forward.

"I feel that this is a neighborhood people should want to flock in," said Koerner. "How many neighborhoods do you know that a neighbor would risk his life for his neighbor? How many neighborhoods do you know where heroes reside?"

Koerner is planning to rebuild on the same plot of land, and she hopes a memorial park or garden can be set aside in honor of Jennifer and Dion Longworth, who died in the Nov. 10 disaster, and those who survived the blast.

The city expects the demolition process to start this week and to stick to a schedule.
       
There will be six more demolitions by Dec. 3 and 17 by Dec. 20.
        
The demolition process could be made easier since 15 of the 33 homes in question are insured by State Farm.

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