BIRMINGHAM, AL (WBRC) - The 14 Ensley houses burned by a suspected arsonist are among the first of 200 abandoned Birmingham homes to be demolished by the city.
Demolition began with a burned out home on Avenue S in Ensley on Wednesday. The city plans to tear down two houses each day. Tuesday, the Birmingham City Council approved $1.5 million to go toward getting rid of the abandoned homes deemed unsafe.
Birmingham Mayor William Bell says the Ensley arsons have highlighted what's been a problem in Birmingham for years.
"First, we have to take these houses down, but then we're developing a plan that we will come back and rebuild houses in this area as well as other areas. And this is the visual sign of the first step of the commitment we're making to all of our neighborhoods," Bell said.
The 240 homes set to be torn down in this process is just the tip of the iceberg. There are more than 7,000 abandoned properties in Birmingham the city hopes to deal with eventually.