‘It’s been too long:’ Alderman Donovan urges city to seize Furniture Depot after April fire

Alderman Bob Donovan

MILWAUKEE -- Milwaukee Alderman Bob Donovan on Tuesday, Sept. 3 called on city leaders to seize Furniture Depot near 25th and Lincoln -- destroyed by fire in April.

For nearly five months, people living and working in the area have had to see and smell what's left of the charred business.

"Who wants to sit and look at it all day?" asked Jervitta Bradford.

Flames broke out at the store on April 13, rendering the building a total loss.

"All of a sudden, the glass just busted, and once oxygen hit it, it just spread," said Bradford. "There was no controlling it. It was horrible."

Fire destroys Furniture Depot near 25th and Lincoln (Courtesy: Incident Response)

Fire destroys Furniture Depot near 25th and Lincoln (Courtesy: Incident Response)

Fire destroys Furniture Depot near 25th and Lincoln (Courtesy: Incident Response)

Fire destroys Furniture Depot near 25th and Lincoln (Courtesy: Incident Response)

Bradford said the eyesore has since attracted unwanted attention; from garbage piling up, to abandoned vehicles, to criminal activity.

"It's to the point where the police stops over there like, every night," Bradford said.

Relatives of the owner of the building said officials with the insurance company were dragging their feet regarding a settlement.

Fire destroys Furniture Depot near 25th and Lincoln

Fire destroys Furniture Depot near 25th and Lincoln

Fire destroys Furniture Depot near 25th and Lincoln

Fire destroys Furniture Depot near 25th and Lincoln

Abdul Marashi

Abdul Marashi

"I know the landlord has been doing everything to try to get the resources, to get money to fix this," said Abdul Marashi, relative of the landlord.

Alderman Donovan admitted the city also dropped the ball.

"I want to apologize for putting my faith in what I should say is the rather lethargic city bureaucracy," said Donovan.

At a news conference in front of the store on Tuesday, Donovan announced he sent a letter to the city attorney's office, demanding the city declare the property a public nuisance, seize it from the owner, and begin tearing it down.

"My constituents are now somehow second-class citizens," Donovan said. "They deserve better."

It's a plan Bradford said she was hopeful would give way to a new business coming in -- restoring her neighborhood's potential.

"It's been too long," said Bradford. "It's like, it's just a mess."

PHOTO GALLERY

The Department of Neighborhood Services is also responsible for staying on top of these kinds of properties. FOX6 News received the following statement:

"Based on the overall condition of the building at 2525 W. Lincoln Ave., the building was deemed repairable. DNS has issued an order to repair to the property owners. It is our understanding that the owner is working with their insurance company with the intent to rebuild."

Until everything is resolved, the property owner said they would also be better securing the front of the building.

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