Paralyzed man worries he may be trapped if abandoned home next door burns

Couple has been working 5 years for demolition

DETROIT (WXYZ) - Bill Wade -- who has multiple sclerosis and is paralyzed from the waist down -- lives in fear that the dilapidated, vacant home next door to his will be set on fire. 

The 61-year-old worries the flames will spread to his home -- which is only 6 feet away. 

His worst fear?

"Dying in my chair here [and] not being able to get out," said Wade who was stretched out in the living room recliner where he spends his days and nights.

His fear is not unfounded.  Vandals torched two abandoned houses within a two-block radius of his home.

Linda – his wife of 42 years – is 5'1'', 61-years-old, and has trouble lifting him without help.

She's especially concerned about leaving Bill alone.

"I worry about that house [next door] because if I'm not here and I'm running an errand and that house goes up [in flames], he's stuck," she explained.

The Wades have been trying to get the vacant home in the adjacent lot torn down since 2009.  They say it's been empty since 2005, and scrappers have stripped anything of value.

On top of that, the Wades say raccoons and other small animals have moved in, and the property stinks of feces.

After repeatedly contacting city officials and departments requesting the home be demolished, the pair called WXYZ's Call For Action team in 2011.

One of our volunteers worked on the case and helped get the utilities in the vacant home turned off.

"But she got to the point where she was at a standstill, too, because nobody was helping," said Linda Wade.

I contacted Detroit Mayor Dave Bing's office.  The Mayor's Chief Communications Officer Robert Warfield responded:

"To date, all Neighborhood Stabilization Program demolition dollars have been exhausted including those allocated for this particular neighborhood. The city is awaiting additional federal grant funding to continue its on-going demolition efforts.  The recently announced Hardest-Hit Funds unfortunately cannot be used for this demolition due to the fact that this property is not located in one of the fund's designated areas. However, all State and Federal requirements for demolition of this property have been met such as asbestos abatement and utility clearances. The City continues to vigorously seek additional Federal funding to demolish the nearly 50,000 remaining vacant structures."

 For Bill and Linda Wade, the help cannot come soon enough.


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