The city of Seymour has taken action to tear down a house officials have deemed unsafe due to its condition.

During a hearing at the board of public works and safety meeting Thursday morning, Building Commissioner Jeremy Gray requested the residence at 909 N. Park St. be demolished.

The home caught fire in April 2015, and nothing has been done to the property since, Gray said.

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“We sent letters to try to get it fixed or torn down,” he said. “In my opinion, it needs to be torn down because I don’t think you can fix it. It’s really a hazard to the public.”

Gray said he has received numerous complaints about the property from neighbors.

The residence is owned by Donna Hart, but at the time of the fire, Hart had been living in Crothersville with her boyfriend, according to police reports. Hart’s daughter, Megan Hart, and grandchildren had just moved back into the residence.

Donna Hart told police the house had extensive electrical problems due to mice infestation and that lights throughout the house would short or not even function because of the damage.

Police later determined Megan Hart had set the fire intentionally because she didn’t want her and her children to have to live there. She was arrested and charged with arson, a Level 4 felony. She later received a three-year prison sentence with all but 11 days suspended.

City attorney Rodney Farrow said Donna Hart was notified of the unsafe building hearing by certified mail March 16 and that she had a right to be present with or without legal representation.

She did not attend Thursday’s meeting.

“We had asked that she repair the building or remove it within 60 days or the city was going to tear it down and add it to the tax rolls,” Farrow said. “The house is just completely gutted, and it needs to be torn down.”

The city has tried to reach Hart before on the matter.

“We haven’t had any response from Mrs. Hart to any of our letters,” Gray said.

“To my knowledge, she has ignored everything we’ve tried to do to get a response,” Farrow added.

Farrow will now file an order with the courts to demolish the property, but that process could take another year or two to complete.

“I hope it goes quicker, but it has to go through the court system,” he said.

If the court grants the order, the city will have to pay an estimated $5,000 to tear down the house. That money will come from the planning and zoning department’s unsafe structure budget.

The city will then place a lien on the property to attempt to collect the debt, Gray said.

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January Rutherford is a reporter for The (Seymour) Tribune. She can be reached at or 812-523-7069.