Neighbours fear house of horrors
By CRAIG McTEAR
ANDREW was too sick to go into work ? that's how bad the smell was.
The 33-year-old kitchenhand lives in Coffs Harbour's Boultwood Street, near a derelict house which is a blight on Park Beach.
Even worse, he reckons the dwelling is a major health and fire hazard.
He claims the place is riddled with asbestos and, as if that wasn't bad enough, it's been hit by arsonists at least three times in its recent sorry history.
Only three days ago, fire crews rushed to the property at 12.30am after hoodlums lit a pile of rubbish in a corner of one room.
"I had Monday off work. I was feeling sick from the smell going through my unit," Andrew, who did not want to have his surname published, said.
But the rot continued that night when a stove, lounges and boxes dumped on the footpath outside the house were twice torched.
The house, owned by a Yass investor, became vacant three or four years ago.
Anxious residents have campaigned for the dwelling's demolition, but they say no-one is listening.
They claim the single-storey, four-bedroom house is a haven for squatters and drug-users. They've even seen syringes in the back shed.
The so-called security fence at the front hasn't managed to keep out unwelcome visitors, who are afforded even easier access at the back, where there is no barrier.
They've turned what was probably once a nice home into a squalid, blackened hovel, complete with smashed windows and large holes in the fibro walls.
As for the yards, they now resemble a Jurassic Park landscape, where foul critters feel right at home.
"I've had enough of it," Andrew said. "We're worried about what else is going to happen."
The state of the house and the unwanted attention it attracts aren't his only worries ? two cars were stolen from the street only last week.
A Coffs Harbour City Council spokeswoman said yesterday the council issued a demolition order for the house 12 months ago.
However, their legal advice said that was unlikely to be successful in court because the structure did not pose an immediate threat to public safety, she said.
As a result, the owners put a fence around the house and indicated they were planning to sell it, the spokeswoman said.