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Posted on Wed, Apr 10, 2013 : 5:58 a.m.

Blight beat: Flooding, mold growth inside vacant home prompts legal action

By Tom Perkins


A home at 5777 Meritt has suffered extensive water damage.

Tom Perkins | For

The Ypsilanti Township Office of Community Standards is taking on a blight case at a relatively new home.

For at least eight months, the home at 5777 Merritt has sat vacant. But during that time it has flooded and is decaying from the inside out.

Now, the township is preparing to take legal action as the home’s owner fails to respond to requests to bring the property up to code.

Since tenants who rented the property left in August 2012, a burst pipe has flooded the house and caused significant interior damage. Among other issues are mold growth, collapsing drywall and rotting joists.

Parts of the ceiling have collapsed throughout the main floor and there is water damage throughout the interior.

Ypsilanti Township Building Director Ron Fulton said he suspected the home had flooded on multiple occasions.

“This had been going on for quite some time, unfortunately,” he said.

The home was built in the mid 1990s and there is a basketball court and new children's playset in the backyard. The home was brought to the OCS’s attention when a neighbor called the fire department on Feb. 4 because they were hearing an alarm from inside the house.

Firefighters discovered the alarm was going off because warm water shooting out of a pipe and hitting the cold surfaces in the home was causing steam. The steam triggered the alarm.

The property was subsequently condemned.

The homeowner initially told township officials he planned to bring the home, which is next to Wiard's Orchard, up to code but was unable to receive insurance money to make the repairs. Since then he has not responded to township correspondence.

At its March 25 board meeting, the Ypsilanti Township Board of Trustees approved taking legal action if the home’s owner did not bring the property up to code.

Tom Perkins is a freelance reporter. Contact the news desk at



Thu, Apr 11, 2013 : 6:19 a.m.

Give the house to me, I'll fix it

Ricardo Queso

Wed, Apr 10, 2013 : 6:53 p.m.

If we had mandatory federal water pipe registration this tragedy could have been prevented.

Bertha Venation

Wed, Apr 10, 2013 : 6:27 p.m.

Such a shame. It looked like at one time it was a very nice house.


Wed, Apr 10, 2013 : 1:23 p.m.

How sad, one can easily tell it was a nice home at one point!

Hugh Giariola

Wed, Apr 10, 2013 : 11:49 a.m.

@Tom, check the dates. Did you mean August 2011 was when the home was vacated? August 2012 would only be 8 months the home sat empty.

Tom Perkins

Wed, Apr 10, 2013 : 2:08 p.m.

@Hugh Giariola I meant eight months. Thanks for pointing that out.


Wed, Apr 10, 2013 : 11:49 a.m.

I wonder if the township officials will refuse to let the owner rehab their property forcing it to fall further into decay so that they can raze the property and confiscate the land like they're doing on Grove Rd.?


Wed, Apr 10, 2013 : 12:20 p.m.

Ooops...maybe you are talking about Liberty Square but my comment still applies there


Wed, Apr 10, 2013 : 12:19 p.m.

I guess I missed that the Twp is trying to confiscated Gault Village.All I've read about is that they are forcing the owners to clean it up ( ie: demolish the crumbling KMart )

Jeff Renner

Wed, Apr 10, 2013 : 11:40 a.m.

"warm water shooting out of a pipe and hitting the cold surfaces in the home was causing steam." This doesn't make sense.

Jeff Renner

Wed, Apr 10, 2013 : 5:41 p.m.

What I meant is that warm water hitting a cold surface isn't going to produce steam, or even a mist of very fine water droplets, like fog, which is what I imagine is what set off the alarm. Warm water sprayed into cold air would do this, but not onto a cold surface. That would just chill the water and make it less likely to produce this kind of mist. Of course, strictly speaking, steam is invisible water vapor and only exists at over 212F at atmospheric pressure. This is not what I was referring to.

Hugh Giariola

Wed, Apr 10, 2013 : 11:53 a.m.

Jeff, have you ever had your smoke alarms become triggered by cool, very balmy weather? I think the situation was similar here with the burst pipe.


Wed, Apr 10, 2013 : 11:14 a.m.

Too bad looks like it was a nice house.I wounder if the damage to the garage ( light on the left and damage to the door ) was caused by the former tenants

Craig Lounsbury

Wed, Apr 10, 2013 : 11:04 a.m.

when I go on vacation I turn the water off in my house. Its #1 on my vacation check off list . It takes me about 2 minutes round trip from the top of the basement stairs.


Wed, Apr 10, 2013 : 8:46 p.m.

I do the same thing, even when I am gone for the weekend. Why would you even be heating the water in a vacant home?