An eyesore no more?

By Margie Thompson, The Union Democrat , @margielou

A burned-out Sonora apartment house that has served as a downtown eyesore for a year should be coming down soon.

The City of Sonora Community Development Department is in the process of issuing a demolition permit for the large Victorian-style building on the 400 block of South Stewart Street, gutted in a fire Jan. 17, 2012.

The fire, apparently sparked by a soldering torch during plumbing repairs, destroyed 15 apartments and displaced 10 people.

Community Development Director Rachelle Kellogg said Thursday that the permit will likely be granted in the next "couple weeks." The property owner then has up to 180 days to begin demolition.

Some neighbors are relieved, saying the vacant building, surrounded by chain-link fence, is an eyesore.

Multiple broken television sets were face down in front of the house on Thursday, with trash and debris strewn around the perimeter. Sitting in one broken out front window was a cordless phone, and cleaning items still littered what used to be a kitchen.

Multiple nearby residents expressed concern about the building on Thursday.

"It's a blight," said Sandra Betti, who lives across the street. "It just looks so sad."

Fire officials at the time estimated the monetary damage at as much as $1 million.

Property owner Justin Pfeiffer last year said the house was insured.

Pfeiffer could not be reached for comment by Thursday.

The Union Democrat
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