CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO) - Even at night, it's easy to see that the house that was standing here yesterday is gone.
An empty lot is all that remains of the house where 14-year-old Alianna DeFreeze was kidnapped, raped and murdered.
“Tear it down, tear it down.”
That was the demand from the DeFreeze family and community activists which was finally heeded Friday morning, when the claws of a giant excavator tore into the house.
The house of horrors is gone, hopefully taking away a measure of the hurt and pain to which it was linked.
Cleveland 19 spoke to Gus Frangos, president of the County Land Bank, about the long road to demolition.
“When we bring the house in there is no short cut,” said Frangos.
“We access the property from the roof to the foundation, and everything in between.”
More than 10,000 other abandoned houses have been torn down since 2006, with thousands more awaiting demolition.
So, what’s the holdup?
“We have to asset it for asbestos, remove the asbestos, give 10 days-notice to the public,” explained Frangos.
The process can be expedited if the structure is a crime scene, like the house that once stood on Fuller Ave, or if it has been burned.
“All demolition, regardless of how they are chosen, they all must follow a regulatory process by the U.S. EPA and the Ohio EPA,” said Frangos.
“So, we can’t just get them and knock them down. We have to do asbestos removal and a variety of other things.”
Frangos said they move as promptly as they law allows.
County Lank Bank has demolished over 8,000 abandoned homes—the City of Cleveland confirms more than 800 in the last year alone.
More than 600 of the razed structures have been the result of Cleveland’s Safe Routes to School program.
Cleveland has implemented a Safe Routes to School initiative.