by: Manuel Bojorquez Updated:
A major bank has been fined $9,000 by a Gwinnett County judge for code violations at a Lilburn home.
The home on Spring Mill Drive near Five Forks Trickum Road was damaged during a meth lab explosion and fire in February 2011. The fire killed three children who were in the home.
"It's been a bad, sore subject around here," said Chan Brown, who lives a few doors down.
He said neighbors have been struggling for more than a year to find out who is responsible for cleaning up the property. Some have even volunteered to clean up the yard, saying it's an eyesore and a painful reminder.
"I have a 7-year-old and a 3-year-old. We drive by there, and they see some activity going on, they get worried," Brown said.
In Gwinnett County Recorder's Court Thursday, a judge signed nine citations against JP Morgan Chase Bank, for code violations ranging from boarding up structures, to tall grass and weeds.
Each violation carries a $1,000 fine, which is reduced to $250 if the problem is resolved within 30 days.
Neighbors said it appears the owner abandoned the property, after initially attempting to clean it up after the fire.
Greg Hassell, a spokesman for JP Morgan Chase bank, said that the bank has started foreclosure proceedings, but the property is not yet bank-owned.
Still, Hassell said the bank will work to correct the violations.
"While we have not foreclosed on the property, we have hired a company who has made repairs, cleaned up the yard and sealed the windows and doors. We are working closely with Gwinnett County code enforcement to ensure this is taken care of as quickly as possible," Hassell said in a statement.
Neighbors said they have seen crews doing some cleanup work in the past few weeks. And while they're encouraged by recent developments, they're cautiously optimistic about the future of the property.
"It's a bad situation for everybody, but at some point in time, somebody has to deal with it," said Don Kiefaber, who also lives on the street.
"All of us who drive by that house multiple times a day wanted to see it happen sooner than later and it sounds like maybe something's going to happen now," Keifaber said.