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Fire crews burn condemned Ronan house

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RONAN — A condemned house in Ronan went up in flames on Saturday when members of the Ronan Volunteer Fire Department carried out an order from the city to burn the two-story residence at 313 5th Ave SW.

The house described by neighbors as a “big ugly green thing” was as an eyesore for the community. Saturday morning residents of Fifth Ave. SW watched as Ronan firefighters threw flares into the house that had been thoroughly inspected and checked for squatters before being set on fire.

“We did a room by room inspection,” fire fighter Dan Miller said. “We had someone watching both sides.”

Miller explained that the firefighters set up posts around the house, ensuring that no one entered the house before the firefighters set it on fire. 

The structure was also inspected by the Ronan Housing Authority and was found to contain asbestos and was known throughout the community as a flop house.

After writing several letters to city council concerning the residence, neighbor Heidi Trytten was glad to see the house gone. 

“When it fell, we were across the street,” Trytten said. She described the process as extremely quick and noted that the area became heated as flames engulfed the house.

“I did get a little nervous,” Trytten said. She explained that she was worried that her house might catch on fire as well, but noted that the Ronan Fire Department did a good job of keeping the flames contained and spraying houses in close proximity with water. 

Neighbors also hinted that the structure housed drug-related activities. 

“For years it went on over here,” neighbor Harold Smith said. “It got to the point that when we said ‘the green house’ (the police) knew where to go.” 

Ronan Fire Chief Mark Clary said the burning house enabled firefighters to practice and run through some training exercises outside. 

The house smoldered for the majority of the morning and the remnants of rubble were removed by Greg Johnson from Johnson Excavation.

“It’s kind of nice to clean up an eyesore in the town,” Johnson said.

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