Troy vacant building fires under investigation

TROY, N.Y. (NEWS10) – A series of suspicious fires in Lansingburgh and Troy has residents on edge.

On July 5th, a fire that lit up a vacant three-story building like the 4th of July.

No one was injured, but there will surely be long lasting pain for the owner of AZ Grocery at the corner of 5th Avenue and Northern Drive.

“You know I feel really bad for them.”

A woman named Jean said she’s been a customer for four years. That was until last week.

“They took my store,” Jean said.

Days before and up the street, Troy firefighters also knocked down a fire at the site of another vacant building.

Early Tuesday morning, they responded to a much smaller fire near the corner of 102nd and 5th Ave.

Verdette Irby lives a few blocks away.

“I think that while they’re setting them in fire they are trying to give them a hint to fix them or tear them down because this building has been here for the longest time and it should be torn down. It really should,” Irby said.

NEWS10 ABC took Verdette’s concerns to city hall.

“If they’re unsafe and they need to come down, we are getting them down,” Deputy Mayor Monica Kurzejeski said.

Kurzejeski says more than 40 buildings over the past 18 months have been removed. Sixteen were undertaken by the City of Troy thanks to a zombie home grant and help from the Troy Community Land Bank. The remaining were privately conducted demolitions.

With more than 520 vacant properties, it’s a challenge.

“The city only owns about 54 of those. It’s a real hurdle to try and maintain communication and aggressive compliance with property owners who are either unresponsive, aren’t local or are banks,” Kurzejeski said.

Kurzejeski said she hopes the city has resources to bring down between 10 to 15 more vacant buildings over the next year.

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