WESTMINSTER, Colo. (KDVR) — Neighbors in the 7700 block of North Knox Court might be feeling cursed, especially Crissa Doeppke. She hasn’t been able to live in her home since Feb. 22, when a deadly house explosion next door caused so much damage she was forced to relocate.
“I have a voice in my head that screams no one is going to help you, and it’s right a lot,” said Doeppke, describing her frustrations with the City of Westminster.
Doeppke said she spent years complaining to the city about the hoarding lifestyle of her former next-door neighbor, Duane Doyle, before his house caught fire in April of 2021. After the fire, the city deemed the house uninhabitable. But Doyle continued to live in the house, even while it had no utilities.
Doyle later died in the house explosion on Feb. 22, likely caused by propane tanks found scattered in the debris.
“I keep having to tell myself that this is not a flashback,” said Doeppke, referring to her new neighbor, an apparent hoarder who showed up next to her house with a truck and two trailers in mid-May.
‘I’m completely surrounded by it’
“This is almost the exact same experience of the last 10 years condensed into three weeks, complete with half a dozen propane tanks,” explained Doeppke, describing what FOX31 could see among so many belongings in the two trailers.
“It’s really happening, and now I’m surrounded, I’m completely surrounded by it,” Doeppke said.
Four months later, she still faces debris from the house explosion to the south side of her house. Now, on the north side of her home, there is a hoarder on wheels, who keeps most of his belongings parked on her curb.
“I think that pile of debris (next-door) has just been a beacon. It is basically saying this neighborhood is fair game,” Doeppke said. She wonders if the man living in front of her house picked the location because code violations at the house next door were generally ignored for 13 years.
“I struggle each and every time I call the police with the knowledge previously established from experience that I’m unlikely to actually receive any help,” Doeppke said.
How Westminster responds to hoarder report
A Westminster Police spokeswoman told the Problem Solvers the department is aware of the issues with the truck owner and his two trailers. A city accident investigator tagged the two trailers Wednesday afternoon with a 48-hour warning to move the trailers or be towed on Friday.
But under the law, police admit the man can simply move his truck and trailers at least 300 feet away to a different spot down the street, then he can return to his original spot the next day to re-start the 48-hour violation clock.
“Exasperated,” Doeppke said. “All I ever get is excuses” about why the city can’t do more. “The supposed compassion for this man’s situation seems to override everything, including my safety.”
The explosion next door at 7731 N. Knox Court left Doeppke’s house so damaged and in need of repair that she has no idea when she’ll be able to move back home. But she didn’t think things could get worse for her and neighbors, who spent years complaining about the hoarding situation at 7731 N. Knox Court — only to get a new neighbor they never wanted.
When Doeppke described how she and her neighbors feel about the response they’ve received from city leaders she said, “We are the armpit of Westminster, and I think that describes us pretty well in terms of how much consideration we’ve actually been given.”