FAIRFIELD (CBS13) — Paying for the damage squatters leave behind, that’s what one Fairfield neighbor says happened after her house caught fire this summer.
The kitchen fire happened in July and was ruled an accident. But when the owners moved out, squatters moved in.
Amritha Singh-Boullard said her family as lived in the home for decades. She was raising her own kids there when it caught fire.
“They [squatters] came in immediately. I don’t know exactly what they were doing in the house. I was told they were doing drugs and everything else in my house,” she said. “There’s no telling if the people who were here might come back.”
The Fairfield Fire Department called it “unlivable” at the time of the fire. Neighbors say there’s been problems at the home for months.
“There’s always been some sort of issue going on there, people in and out,” said Miranda Cammacho.
Singh-Boullard said the squatters stole from her, too. “I know they took everything, and when I say everything, I know they took babies clothes, dishes and couches.”
Now Singh-Boullard says she’s been getting tickets from code enforcement for this damage.
“We get tickets for the house, looking like this even though there was a fire,” said Singh-Boullard.
Fairfield Police say it’s the family who owns the property, so they pay for the damage. They also needed a warrant to get access to the home to get the squatters out. In this case, the tickets were sent because the family wasn’t communicating with police.
Fairfield Police Officer Jausiah Jacobsen said, “When they can’t get a hold of them, the next step is were going to take some enforcement action in hopes that motivates people to help out.”
After getting more than 10 complaints from neighbors, police said this became a public safety issue, but it is still the homeowner’s responsibility to give police the go-ahead to take action.
“It’s their property, they’re the ones that dictate what happens on their property unless its involving the safety of the public,” said Jacobsen.
For the Singh-Boullard family, they say they’re ready to leave the neighborhood for good.
“Most likely I’m going to sell my house or rent it,” she said.
The family says insurance will cover some of what’s left, but she needs to now file a fire claim, and a claim for the damage the squatters did.