Abandoned home collapses in Harrisburg

An abandoned house collapsed Wednesday night in Harrisburg, nearly damaging the home next door where a family of six lived.

The building along the 1100 block of Derry Street is now surrounded with caution tape, keeping people away for safety reasons.

Ironically, the collapse happened on the same day city leaders announced a new weapon in the war against blight.

Starting Monday, all codes violations will be sent to a housing court. Two district judges will be in charge of the court. The hope is that cases will stop falling through the cracks and that will put more pressure on frequent violators.

There have been 67 such cases so far this year. There were 167 last year and 497 in 2012. All of those cases were spread across five district judges, clogging the criminal justice system and codes department, and often resulting in inconsistent verdicts or unresolved cases.

Many believe the new system will help.

“Nobody is going to want to go to housing court,” Mayor Eric Papenfuse said. “Nobody is going to want those stiffer, more consistent sentences.”

However, Harrisburg is delaying hiring two codes enforcement officers needed to tackle blight because of a budget deficit.

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