Why We Search: Dead in OKC and the Bronx


Fatalities in structures known for having squatters



Recent fires continue to highlight the constant struggle fire departments, neighbors and elected leaders have with abandoned buildings.  As the first month of New Year comes to an end we see everything from budgeting money to remove the problem to fire companies finding bodies of the homeless inside burned out structures


Oklahoma City

Firefighters responded to a house fire on Monday, 25 January.  According to Battalion Chief Greg Lindsay, companies faced fire showing from every window that wasn’t boarded up.  Neighbors told local news that people had been coming and going from the house in recent days.  Firefighters had run an earlier fire at the same address on 6 January.  Now listed as a dilapidated building, the demolition process has begun.  There are reportedly over 12,000 abandoned houses in Oklahoma City limits, according to KFOR.  Past legislative efforts to reduce that number have been unsuccessful.





On 26 January, a squatter was killed in an abandoned house fire. Three other squatters managed to escape the fire.  A neighbor told the New York Daily News that since the owners died homeless people had taken over the structure.



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BillCareyBioPicBill Carey is the online public safety news and blog manager with PennWell Public Safety, or more specifically FireRescue Magazine/FirefighterNation.com, JEMS.com, and FireEMSBlogs.com. Bill started in the fire service, as a third generation firefighter in 1986, on the eastern shore of Maryland and then continued after moving to Prince George’s County. He served as a volunteer sergeant and lieutenant at Hyattsville. Bill’s writing has been on Firehouse.com, Fire Engineering, FireRescue Magazine, FirefighterNation.com, the Jones and Bartlett 2010 edition of “Fire Officer: Principles and Practice”, The Secret List and Tinhelmet.com. His recent writing on firefighter behavioral health was nominated for a 2014 Neal Award for Best Subject-Related Series.

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