TOPEKA (KSNT) – On February 14th, Topeka firefighters responded to a house fire in Central Topeka.
One that has happened before, to what’s been discovered as a vacant home.

Unfortunately, this has become a common occurrence around the city. In January of this year, a house in East Topeka was purposely set on fire. This house is also empty. The city of Topeka has more than one-thousand tax delinquent properties, and many end up empty. While these properties can be an eyesore for the community, one Topeka city council district member is doing what she can to fix it.

“Taking care of the outside, keeping that vegetation down, keeping it mowed,” Topeka City Council District Member, Karen Hiller said.

To do this, a vacant house task force is being created. It’s called “Change Our Culture of Property Maintenance.” It’s something the public health and safety committee has been working on for almost two years.

“It will go to city council in October for review of the final recommendations in that report,” Hiller said. “It’s been there already for preliminary.”

And according to Hiller, the best kind of vacant structure are the ones where people don’t know it is vacant.

“But it is secured and kind of inconspicuous, it’s taken care of,” Hiller said. People don’t notice it that much. The neighbors may know that it’s vacant, but other people don’t.”

And you can help. If you live near any of these empty structures, fire officials urge you to say something.

“Whether it be a commercial structure or a home that may be under remodel, maybe waiting for demolition, any of those things, and make sure if you see someone going in and out that you’re notifying the authorities,” Topeka Fire Marshal, Alan Stahl said.