News 2 Investigates: Forgotten firehouse appears to get worse after report
BATON ROUGE- Two weeks after city leaders promised to make changes to blighted parish firehouses, it appears one of them is getting worse.
The city-parish abandoned six old fire stations over the last three years. When the firefighters moved into new buildings, the old ones were forgotten. One firehouse on Osage and Pocahontas continues to be used for sex and other illegal activity. When News 2 investigators brought this to the attention of city leaders, they promised to take action.
Last week, we showed you people using firehouses on Osage and Pocahontas on one night in July for what appeared to be sexual acts. When we approached they quickly broke it up, but the evidence left behind remains. Dozens of used condoms littering the property.
When the old stations were abandoned by the fire department, the buildings were turned over to the Department of Public Works.
"Is that embarrassing or shocking to see that," News 2 asked DPW Director David Guillory.
"Absolutely," Guillory replied. "It looks boarded up, but if there's a way to get in people will find a way to get in."
It appeared change would be coming after that interview, but today our cameras showed nothing has happened at the Osage firehouse since our last visit. Instead we found more condoms, and now it appears someone is using the firehouse as a dump site for old tires.
"If they aren't going to do anything with it, they need to tear it down," a concerned neighbor said.
Representative Alfred Williams wants something done about the Gus Young firehouse. It's another problem property for the City-Parish. Williams wrote a letter last year, asking the Mayor about the property, so they could turn it into something productive for the community.
"We've been very disappointed that we did not even get a response," Williams said. "I pass the building everyday. I see how dilapidated it's becoming. Now, it's going to cost us more even if we got the building."
Today, we found work was done to seal the hole in the wall, but the grass was still high. Since our story, Councilwoman C. Denise Marcelle says others have also expressed interest in the Gus Young Firehouse too.
"We look forward to doing something with those buildings in the near future," Marcelle said. "One idea I had was to bring in the RDA to get those buildings and pass them to non profits, churches or whatever we deem has a great program for the community."
As neighbors push to get the properties cleaned up, they realize relying on the city means nothing will happen fast.
Late this afternoon, DPW Director David Guillory told News 2 crews are planning on cleaning up the Osage firehouse tomorrow. Guillory also has a meeting scheduled next week with the parish attorney to discuss how to lease the properties out to people willing to use the buildings.