Structures deemed unsafe in Chattanooga are down - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Structures deemed unsafe in Chattanooga are down

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CHATTANOOGA, TN (WRCB) -

It's a rainy start to Chattanooga Code Inspection Supervisor Ed Graham's route. 

He checks a list of residential properties reported to his office for possible violations.    

"We get the complaint, we come out, research it and do our investigation," Graham said. 

One home in Hixson on Graham's route Monday was left abandoned with the windows and front door wide open creating a danger, Graham says, to the public. 

"There appeared to be a fire in the kitchen. There was a lot of damage to the flooring systems, sub floor. Walls had holes in the sheetrock. It looked like there may have been a little bit of vandalism," he added. 

Leaving him no choice but to condemn the property. 

The property owner will be notified of the violations and will be given a set amount of time to board up the structure and make repairs or demolish the structure altogether. If a property owner doesn't comply, they could be ordered to pay fines. 

A 2016 report shows the number of code enforcement cases are up in Chattanooga compared to years past but the number of structures deemed unsafe is down. 

Graham credits proactive work and fewer foreclosures for the change. 

"Those are starting to get cleaned up more. People are moving back into them or the city is demolishing them if they need to be," he added. 

Code enforcement impacts public safety too. 

Police officers like Lt. Eddy Chamberlin sometimes see violations while investigating calls, like one home in East Chattanooga where someone told police about prostitution in 2015. 

"They condemned the property on the spot. Not one arrest was made during that time but it did resolve the issue of the prostitution which was occurring across the street from an elementary school," Chamberlin said. 

And getting rid of that makes Chattanooga a safer place to live. 

"We get one person started to clean up their house or clean their yard, paint their house and it's kind of a domino effect and all of the sudden, a whole block is clean," Graham said. 

If you have a complaint for code inspectors in Chattanooga, you can report it by calling 311. 

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