Youngwood seeks court approval to demolish 2 fire-damaged buildings

August 6, 2018

Firefighters contain a blaze at a a two-story home in the 200 block of Third Street on Sept. 8, 2017, in Youngwood.

Youngwood Borough is seeking court approval to demolish two homes that were extensively damaged in separate fires last year, claiming they are public health hazards.

The petition seeking a judge’s approval to tear down two homes at 220 and 222 S. Third St. was filed this week in Westmoreland Common Pleas Court by the borough’s attorney, Gary Matta.

Shaun M. Wallace, 37, who has moved to Derry, is the owner of the home at 222 S. Third St. He is awaiting trial on charges of arson and reckless burning in connection with the blaze that extensively damaged the house on Sept. 8, according to court documents.

Wallace’s trial is tentatively scheduled to begin in Sept. 10.

The home at 220 S. Third St. was owned by David S. Shaporka, who is now deceased, according to court documents. Shaporka’s home was extensively damaged in a fire in July.

“The property at 222 South 3rd Street has also sustained heavy damage due to a fire on all sides. The integrity of the building has also been compromised due to a loss of windows and siding .... much like 220 South 3rd Street, this building may also be susceptible to collapse if exposed to high winds, heavy snow and rain,” the emergency petition states.

“It is the opinion of an unbiased third-party engineer contracted by the borough that the structural integrity of both buildings has been compromised and that in order to protect neighboring buildings and the traveling public on the sidewalk, the buildings should be demolished and backfilled,” the petition states.

The petition said the borough hopes to recoup the costs of the demolition through municipal liens placed on the properties.

A hearing date is not scheduled although the case is assigned to Common Pleas Judge Harry Smail.

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