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Fire destroys vacant house in Sunnyside

Sunnyside firefighters were called out at 2:51 a.m. this morning to a house fire at 1206 Ida Belle Street.

There was no one living in the rental house, whose owner, Gustavo Davila, had been issued a notice to vacate after 24 outstanding building violations had not been corrected.

Although there is a rental home on the same lot about 75 feet from the blaze, firefighters were able to keep it from spreading to that house.

"A neighbor to the east was probably even closer to the fire, but a fence made of plywood saved the fire from going into a large pile of firewood in that neighbor's yard," said Fire Chief Aaron Markham. "We usually don't like to see a plywood fence, but, in this case, it helped keep the fire from spreading. If it had been a slatted fence that let air through, the fire probably would have reached the wood pile."

Markham estimated the value of the home at $20,000.

"It was a small home, approximately 1,000 square feet. If it had been newer or updated, it might have been in the $60,000 or $70,000 range, but it was a substandard building," he said.

The burned building was due to be boarded up today, according to the fire chief. "It has a hole in the floor in the kitchen, and is definitely unsafe," he said.

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