Port Isabel Man Wants Debris Left from Tragic Trailer Fire Removed
PORT ISABEL – All that is left of John Schartel’s home at a trailer park in Port Isabel are ruins of a tragic event. The man died inside his trailer in December after it caught fire.
Having the debris still around, Ken Parish said, is an unnecessary and constant reminder of what happened to his friend.
"Out of respect, why is that trailer still there?" Parish said. "I drive past there, and I see it and the first thing I think about is the day after it happened and I saw it, and I heard how he died."
He said the city isn't doing enough to get the property owner here, to clean this up. Parish just wants it gone.
"I've called the city inspector, I've called the building inspector, I've called code enforcement and nothing is being done," said Parish.
We met city of Port Isabel Fire Marshal and Code Enforcement Officer John Sandoval at the site. He told CHANNEL 5 NEWS, that in these cases it's usually the next of kin that takes care of clearing out a property.
The victim's family lives out of state, he said, and weren't willing to come down to clean up this site.
The owner of the trailer park took on the responsibility of cleaning it out.
"All the cost of removing the remnants of this trailer were left up to the property owner themselves, I know that they are working on it, they have been working on it," Sandoval said, "but of course it's something that's a slow process and money is always an issue."
The cost can be upwards of $2,500 and must be disposed properly at the Brownsville landfill.
Sandoval said the site had to be preserved for investigation purposes till about mid-January.
The property owner has made significant progress since then, he added.
"It would be a different story if we'd arrived here and realized that not much had been done," Sandoval said, "but in this particular case she's been moving on it and trying to get everything taken care of as quickly as possible."
The property owner agreed to have the site cleared out by the end of the weekend, Sandoval added.
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