The Worst House in the Neighborhood: A WDBJ7 Special Report

ROANOKE, Va. (WDBJ7) Every day inspectors in the city of Roanoke are out looking at homes. They're trying to identify buildings that aren't being maintained, and ones that might be in danger of falling down. When they find problems, they aren't always able to take immediate action.

The view from Joy Gambon’s porch is why she loves her home.

“It's great – spectacular,” she said.

While she loves the view looking out -- it's the house down the street she's not too fond of.

Gambon said, “There's a lot of houses in this area that have suffered some really bad damage.”

There is a home on the corner of 12th and Montrose has a rap sheet of its own. Data from the fire marshal shows the empty home caught fire four times since November 2016. Once, injuring a firefighter who fell through the floor.

“I don't know why it's still there,” said Gambon.

That is a question for Chris Chittum, the city's planning director.

Chris Chittum, Roanoke City Planning Director, said, “That process in and of itself is quite unwieldy and lengthy.”

Chittum says sometimes, their only option is to serve people with a summons to show up in court.

“It does usually result in compelling the owner to do what they need to do,” said Chittum.

Getting them in court is easier said than done, though. Chittum says any time someone outside the city owns property that needs to be fixed up, they can have problems serving them with paperwork.

WATCH the full story Thursday night at 6pm on WDBJ7.