The only things left homeless by Tuesday's fire at the Lantana Apartments were the rats and roaches using the abandoned complex as a residence.
But that doesn't mean there aren't victims. Neighbors said they are tired of pests, crime and fires at the blighted property.
A quick walk around the complex shows fire damage at half a dozen or more of the complex's buildings. The abandoned complex was the scene of a murder in 2008 when pizza delivery man Jeremy D. Moore was robbed and shot.
Fire Deputy Chief Cecil Clay said firefighters spotted smoke coming from the area just before 4 p.m. He said firefighters don't know how the blaze started, but it gutted one building and slightly damaged another.
“Almost every one of these buildings has been on fire,” Clay said. “It's a dangerous situation.”
Squatters sometimes set fires in the winter months to stay warm. The apartments are a haven for drug activity, officials say.
Ward 3 City Councilman Larry McAtee represented the area until recent redistricting put the apartments into Ward 1.
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