Flames from vacant house destroy elderly woman's home next door

- It is a sad and all too familiar Detroit story - someone sets an abandoned house on fire and it's the neighboring homeowners that pay the price.

An elderly woman lost her longtime home after the vacant home next door caught fire. She said she had been asking the city to tear down that house for years.

And for 79-year-old Barbara Bragg, the toll is far too high.

"A lot of memories," she says. "A lot of memories. The kids grew up here."

She's called 7080 Arcola home for 41 years, but that came to a screeching halt when someone set fire to the house next door. She and her daughter Camilla still can't believe the fire spread to and destroyed her home. She lost everything.

"It's hard to go from a house to nothing because all she had was an overnight bag and the clothes on her back," says Camilla Bragg.

The house was paid for. Barbara is on a fixed income and does not have homeowner's insurance.

"I had it, but they kept raising the premium and I couldn't pay it; it was too high," she says.

Neighbors say this didn't have to happen. They have been trying to get the abandoned house next door torn down.

"The neighbors have been calling," says Annie Wortham, Barbara's neighbor. "Ms. Brenda down the street called the city and tried to get it torn down about four, five years ago."

But the city of Detroit uses federal money to tear down vacant houses. It is called the Hardest Hit Fund, but the problem is that money only covers certain areas and certain houses. The one next door to Barbara's was not one of them.

The city of Detroit is trying to help Barbara find a place to stay.

The family also set up a fundraising page to help Barbara get back on her feet. If you want to help, CLICK HERE.


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