Betty Wiles was out running errands when she got the call on June 5 that the old, burnt building she lives next to partially collapsed on her house, shattering windows and tearing off part of her roof. Her 18-year-old granddaughter and 11-year-old grandson were home alone at the time.
â??It scared them so bad, they wouldnâ??t even sleep in their own rooms that night,â?? said Wiles.
The building is currently owned by the Michigan DNR Real Estate Division. Wiles said she has been in contact with them over the past month, trying to get the building demolished.
She said after a month of giving her the run-around, they are now telling her she has to file a claim with her own insurance to cover the damages.
â??My insurance pays for my house,â?? Wiles said. â??Itâ??s their insurance that should be doing this, not mine.â??
After a fire in 1999 destroyed much of the building, firefighters were able to salvage Wilesâ?? house. In 2004, the Houghton county inspector condemned the building, saying it was unsafe and needed to be taken down immediately, but the building is still there, and Wiles is not happy about it.
â??Evidently, they donâ??t think this is a big enough problem for them to do anything about,â?? Wiles said. â??A child gets killed in there, are they going to say, â??Not my problemâ??? It is their problem. This is a safety hazard. Itâ??s a health hazard. And, to be honest, Iâ??m afraid itâ??s going to cave in more and do even more damage.â??
According to the Houghton County building inspector, a report has been sent to Senator Tom Casperson to speed up the demolition process.
Wiles said she has tried to be polite, but enough is enough.
â??All I want: that building gone, repairs to my house,â?? she said. â??Thatâ??s all Iâ??m asking.â??