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Birmingham blight festering after house of cat hoarder explodes

Posted at 6:25 PM, Jul 08, 2020
and last updated 2020-07-08 18:25:31-04

BIRMINGHAM, Mich. (WXYZ) — People who live on Chapin Street right off Woodward Avenue in Birmingham have been making multiple complaints to the city and after getting no relief. They called 7 Action News.

Back on Memorial Day, a house exploded. The owner Diane Pitone was inside but was lucky to survive.

The investigation found a leak in the gas line to a clothes dryer was ignited when she turned on a light. She’s been living with family out of town.

For the last 44 days, the neighbors have been living with a pile of rubble and the stench of cat urine and feces. Neighbors say dozens of cats were hoarded inside the house. The city confirms prior complaints.

We started asking questions to the city Tuesday, just as they sent out contractors to set rat traps and spray the pile to control the odor and contaminates.

The city had given Pitone until July 1st to clean the site or the city would start its own action which could have taken weeks more.

Shawn Scott lives right across the street and her 3-year-old son Yates has Asthma. She says the odor is so bad, they can’t be outside.

She also says the house was built in 1946 and she’s concerned what toxic materials may be mixed in.

Stuart Sklar is the attorney for the homeowner and he tells 7 Action News the delay has been with the insurance company approving the money for the cleanup.

Enter another neighbor, Kevin Morrison who called that company and pleaded with them to do the right thing, approving that now and dealing with the rest of the claim later.

Now, that money has been approved and a contractor will be hired with permits from the city.

The attorney says it should be done within days.

Shawn Scott says everybody will believe it when it happens.

We’ll also be watching.