Residents Speak Out as Abandoned House Morphs into Local Drug Spot

Residents Speak Out as Abandoned House Morphs into Local Drug Spot

Investigators are working to determine the cause of a house fire in Orlando. The incident occurred early Sunday morning on 24th Street, near Westmoreland Drive.

Approximately eight fire engines and 20 firefighters spent about two hours containing the blaze. While the home was initially thought to be abandoned, neighbors revealed that there were people living inside.

“I see people over here walking. They had people living here before,” according to a neighbor who wished to remain nameless. “I see about 3 or 4 people there every day.”

The location was reportedly utilized as a drug-selling location, according to the neighbors, who did not appear shocked that the fire might have been deliberately set.

William Andrews, who lives just across the street from the destroyed residence, stated that,”It just became a drug house, I know that the owner had moved and relocated somewhere and left the property there. His children had lived there for a while, then his children left too. And then it just sat. Then the next thing you know, squatter showed up one day.”

According to Andrews, the house was just purchased, and the new owner made unsuccessful attempts to evict the purported squatters.

“The person that purchased the property came through with the sheriff’s department, and three or four squad cars out there,” he stated. “But they settled in. It was their house. They would use the yard, wash cars, as if the house belonged to them.”

Having spent over a decade living in the same neighborhood, Jason Josephs claims to have had conversations with the purported squatters.

“There was an older guy, maybe his sister, and maybe his brother, 4 children, and 2 pit bulls,” he stated. “One day I went out the store. I stepped out, the dogs see me, they run right up to my door. The man said to me “why are you hitting my dogs?” I’m like “your dogs bit me.” I show the hotspot on my foot where they bit through my jeans. I said I was going to call animal control, and he basically begged me not to call animal control.”

Police are urging neighbors with any information that could shed light on what transpired to get in touch with them.