Cumberland Times-News

Editorials

December 10, 2012

Good work

City adept at handling fire-damaged properties

Dog-whistle racism hurts the GOP

Give the city of Cumberland high marks for its

handling of fire-damaged properties.

Several major fires have occurred over the last

year or so and many of the buildings that were

badly damaged have been razed.

When a building has major damage from a fire

it can be a problem for an entire neighborhood if

the structure is not

repaired or demolished.

Abandoned

buildings can lead

to blight to nearby

properties.

We like the city’s

humane approach

to the problem. “We

realize that a fire is a very traumatic event, as

anyone who has experienced one surely knows,”

said City Administrator Jeff Rhodes. “Dealing

with the financial repercussions and the insurer

can also add to the difficulty in resolving these

issues. Recognizing that, city staff handles

these instances with greater sensitivity than a

typical blighted property.

“However, we also recognize the adverse

impact a fire-damaged property has on neighbors

and neighborhoods if repair or removal

takes too long, so we try to stay on top of these

properties and offer what assistance and

encouragement we can to expedite the repair or

removal,” he said.

Rhodes cited five different properties that

have been dealt with following fires. Most of the

buildings are on Cumberland’s East Side.

In nearly all of the cases, a cooperative spirit

between the city and property owners and

insurers has resulted in demolition. The other

case involves a Maryland Avenue home in the

600-block that the city is in the process of

acquiring.

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