AURORA – Every home has its secrets.
Neighbors have long speculated about the mysteries locked inside 1929 Ceylon Street in Aurora. The house was abandoned a decade ago when the man who lived at the residence passed away.
That mystery is now spilling into the front yard.
The house caught fire on Tuesday. Neighbors say it was accidentally started by squatters.
“It’s very frustrating because I figured something like this was probably going to happen. For quite a while it sat there empty and no one really bothered it. Then they started breaking into the house,” said Randy Wagner, the next door neighbor to the home.
Many in the neighborhood are now wondering who is going to clean up or demolish the home after it was gutted by fire.
Neighbors also wonder who owns the home and who’s been paying property taxes on it.
The city of Aurora tells the FOX31 Problem Solvers that it’s conducted 16 abatements on the property over the past five years. That includes maintenance to the yard and the pulling of weeds. The bill added up to more than $10,000.
“I just figured they’re billing whoever’s responsible for the home or the next of kin,” said Randy Wagner, another neighbor.
The FOX31 Problem Solvers reached out to Adams County and it’s still unclear who’s paying for maintenance by the city. The city of Aurora says someone is paying for abatements, but it’s unclear if those checks are coming from the county or from someone connected to the property. Adams County officials are looking into it.
Our investigation shows the property is still owned by Hilton Sease, the homeowner who passed away in 2010.
“Why can’t the city just take it or sell it for back taxes? It needs to be demolished,” asked Wagner.
Neighbors fear it’s taxpayers who are footing the bill, and many say the home has taken its toll on the neighborhood for too long.
“It used to be a nice neighborhood around here, but it’s really not so nice anymore,” said Wagner.