Waiting for repairs five months after wall falls
TIMES NEWS FILE PHOTO A large, upper section of an exterior brick wall fell from this home at 38 W. White St., Summit Hill, last Labor Day. Although the house was condemned the day the incident occurred, nothing has been done to make the area where the collapse occurred any safer, says Summit Hill Borough Council.
Last Labor Day, just before noon, a large, upper section of the brick, exterior side wall of a three-story residence on West White Street in Summit Hill broke loose and loudly fell to the ground.
Hundreds of bricks fell to the walkway on the side of the house.
A neighbor wonders why, five months later, nothing has been done to prevent more of the wall from collapsing.
Marlene Mattrazzo lives next to the damaged house at 38 W. White St. She said periodically bricks still fall from that wall and it appears there might be some bulging, causing her fear that a major collapse could happen.
She approached Summit Hill Borough Council about the matter last night.
Council members said they were informed the owner of the structure has insurance and they don't know why nothing has been done.
"It's six months already. Bricks are still falling," Mattrazzo said to the council.
"My concern is, how long is this going to last?"
Council President Michael Kokinda said the owner of the house received a citation on Jan. 24.
The borough's solicitor, attorney Michael Greek, suggested that the council check to see if there are currently any liens on the property. He said the borough could place a lien on the structure and then proceed with doing work to make the site safer.
He cautioned, though, "You need your funds in place to do this sort of thing."
John O'Gurek, vice president of the council, suggested that the borough contact the insurance company to find out why the house, which was condemned the day the bricks fell, has been allowed to remain in such a deteriorated and dangerous condition.
"They didn't even put a tarp up to keep the water out," he said.
When the collapse occurred, the house was occupied by Ken Cathcart, his girlfriend Brandi Johnson, and their two children, Jacob Cathcart, 4, and Alanna Lennox, 11.
Borough records indicate the house is owned by Michael Perno of Quakertown.
Members of the Summit Hill Fire Department constructed a wooden barrier between the deteriorating home and the Mattrazzo residence. The barrier still stands.
The house is one of the oldest in Summit Hill and may have been built around 1820.