Detroit homeowner says her block 'looks like Beirut' - KMSP-TV

Detroit homeowner says her block 'looks like Beirut'

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Donna Randle's neighborhood in the area of Syracuse and Emery in Detroit  (Credit: WJBK | myFOXDetroit.com) Donna Randle's neighborhood in the area of Syracuse and Emery in Detroit (Credit: WJBK | myFOXDetroit.com)
DETROIT (WJBK) -

"This looks like Beirut.  Some people call it Beirut.  Some people call it Vietnam.  This is Detroit," said Donna Randle.

She walked us down a block she barely recognizes as her own.  She has lived 35 years near the corner of Syracuse and Emery.

"These three houses right here have been set on fire numerous times."

"This house next door to my house, it's been set on fire at least three or four times."

Randle lives in fear next door to a burned out and abandoned house and across the street from nine of them -- dangerous, derelict properties and dumping grounds.

"The only time I feel safe coming home at night is in the winter when it snows because I can see tracks in the snow."

"Maybe the city will understand that people can't live like this.  You want people to stay in the city, but stay in the city for what?"

"All the way down almost to Seven Mile, all these homes are abandoned and empty."

Seeing the news crew in this abandoned neighborhood, people who live on nearby streets came by to complain.

"I've been over here ten years just to see this area going down, and I'm a homeowner and it's bad," said one person.  "When are they going to start doing something over here for us?"

That's the million dollar question.  Randle has been trying to get some of the homes torn down for five years.  She's contacted the mayor's office, written to city council and never seems to get a straight answer.

Disgusted, defeated, it's really depressing.  Randle feels like she's being forced to abandon her property like so many others on the block.

"It's just crazy.  I really feel that they're trying to force us to go."

"If I could sell, I'm telling you they could have it, but I'm not going to just give it to the city."

So Randle will continue to keep up her home and wait for the city to do its part.  In the meantime, she has a message for Mayor Dave Bing.

"I'm sure if you came down here, if you drove down here one day, I think this would change because I know beyond a shadow of a doubt there's no way you would live in conditions like this."

We reached out to the mayor's office trying to find out when they are going to tear down the houses.  The mayor's press secretary did check for us.  One of the homes has been ordered demolished.  One of the homes is slated for demolition, but still needs electric and water clearances.  Three of the homes were discovered vacant and need to go through a hearing before demolition.

The spokeswoman claimed one of the houses is still occupied and another is a closed case, but she's not sure why.

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