Neighbors speak out after vacant house on Malvern Street catches fire

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ROCHESTER, N.Y. — A vacant house on Malvern Street is now a total loss after it caught fire early Monday morning.

No one was inside at the time but it spread quickly causing the chimney to collapse. Latisha Thomas has been living in the area for just seven months and she said in that time frame, she’s seen the same house catch fire several times.

“It catches fire quite frequently,” she said. “I think this is like the third time since I’ve been here. When I first moved here it caught on fire; I didn’t know it was vacant,” Thomas said. “I just recently found out that it was vacant and how it keeps catching fire; I have no clue.”

It’s a question that still lingers for many in the area.

“We had some neighbors that lived over there and they were pretty cool but some stuff started going on over there and they ended up leaving and left it vacant,” said Legion Johnson. “The landlord started clearing out the property and about a week or so later the house caught fire for the first time.”

Recently becoming vacant, Johnson said the fire itself was the least of her worries because of the quick response by the fire department.

“That was the main concern just making sure that the windows were all closed down and blocked off, because it would get pretty smokey,” she said. “That was more concerning than the actual fire itself.”

But still, for many neighbors, vacant houses are far too common in Rochester.

“I just want the city to get all the abandoned houses together,” Latisha Thomas said. “I’m actually trying to move and it’s hard to move because half of Rochester houses are abandoned.”

There’s no word on how the fire started.