A California fire department concerned about the fire hazards associated with a house of hoarders (Collyer Mansion), has taken the drastic step of suing the three brothers who own and reside in the property.
The Tiburon Fire Protection District and the city of Belvedere, California have filed suit against John, Paul and Ted Kraus, who live at 89 Bellevue Avenue. They are seeking to have the home declared a “public nuisance” in violation of city code, and to have a receiver appointed to manage the cleanup on the property.
The suit is the culmination of years of efforts by city and fire officials to get the Kraus’s to clean up the property, and lessen the safety risks. The oldest of the three brothers, John Kraus, 59, claims his brothers will fight the lawsuit. He was quoted in the Marin Independent Journal as saying “The fact of the matter is, our house is not a danger… We have done things that the police have asked us, and the fire people.”
According to the suit, the house is stuffed old newspapers, paper bags, food cartons, and similar debris that is packed so tightly that doors cannot be opened or closed, and that flammables are stacked too close to the furnace and hot water heater. The home also lacks working smoke detectors and investigators found spoiled food inside the house.