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Schuylkill County News

Site of Deadly Fire Now a Headache for Palo Alto Officials

Owner of the property can’t be located.

The site of a deadly fire in January has become a costly headache for Palo Alto officials.

Earlier this month, borough officials debated their next steps in dealing with the eyesore property at 507-509 W. Savory St.

The fire at the property on the morning of January 2 caused the death of 53-year-old Joanne Rodgers, who jumped from a window and sustained injuries that eventually took her life.

Ed Androsko, who survived the fire, however, is allegedly dodging Palo Alto officials who want him to clean up the property.

At the site now is a pile of debris from the buildings that once stood on that site. The borough arranged to have the properties demolished soon after the fire. But the debris from that demolition is in a massive pile at the site.

A heaping pile of debris is what remains of 507-509 W. Savory St. in Palo Alto. The homes were demolished following a fatal fire on Jan. 2 and now the borough is looking at paying to have the debris removed.

Not only is it an eyesore but it also stinks, officials say.

But to get that pile of debris removed, since the owner is ducking borough officials, Palo Alto is facing the likelihood of removing it on its own.

The borough says it received a pair of quotes from contractors who will remove the debris, grade the site and then re-seed it. It’s going to cost Palo Alto at least $16,463, however, which was the low bid received.

If the borough moves forward with a contractor it hires to remove the property, it’ll put a lien on it. The only chance of getting that investment back, however, would be if the owner decides to pay for the it or if the property is sold for back taxes, unless it goes to a Repository Sale, at which all liens are removed.

Firefighters and EMS personnel responded to a home on W. Savory St. in Palo Alto on the morning of Jan. 2, 2024. One woman died in the fire and another man was injured. Now, the property is a pile of debris and the borough is considering how best to mitigate that eyesore. (Coal Region Canary photo)

Palo Alto Council President Brian Dries told fellow board members that he’s spoken to Androsko twice since the fire and has a voice recording of him saying that he’d pay for the costs to tear down the building.

But it’s been a while since Dries has heard from Androsko. Dries even tried calling him during the council meeting on June 10 to no avail.

“He said to me, when we initially tore it down, that he had the money,” Dries said.

Solicitor Eric Prock said the borough could go to District Court to get that verbal agreement enforced, if needed. In the meantime, Palo Alto is citing Androsko daily as the property continues to sit in its current condition.

Councilman Chris Rowan is not optimistic about the prospect of the borough getting its money back for the costs it’s already incurred.

“We’re going to get stuck for $21,000. I truly believe that’s what’ll happen,” he said. “But we have no choice. We have to do it.”

Officials are also contemplating citing Androsko with quality-of-life ordinance violations, which could hold him criminally liable if he’s cited at least 3 times over a 6-month span.

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1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Justin Androsko

    July 17, 2024 at 6:38 am

    Maybe he’s not answering cause he’s constantly in the hospital cause of shortness of breath and other problems from the fire.

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