Crumbling University City home concerns neighbors

UNIVERSITY CITY, Mo. – A University City homeowner fears the house next door will collapse and fall onto hers, injuring or even killing her and her loved ones.

Sarah Darabcsek moved into her home—her first—back in April. Now she worries about the empty house next door.

“I’m most afraid of it happening when we’re not awake and one of us getting hurt or even killed,” she said.

Darabcsek was excited to buy the home; now that dream has turned into a nightmare. She and her fiancée noticed several heavy bricks fell from the side of the old house the day before Thanksgiving.

“Who takes care of us if this comes crashing down onto our home?” she said.

People who live in the neighborhood have watched as the vacant home has fallen into disrepair.

“I feel especially for the neighbors on both sides. If anything happens to this house they have to endure the damages,” said Lushomo Thambwa, a neighbor.

Darabcsek said she discovered the former homeowner died almost three years ago and did not have a will. No one owns the property.

She called city hall for help and they’ve since started legal action. Signs have been posted warning the structure is unsafe. Two cars in driveway are stickered with notices ordering the vehicles to be removed.

Darabcsek said the city told her the process of removing the home could take three to six months.

“I’m glad that they’re doing something,” she said. “I feel that in the state of an emergency when someone’s health and safety is at risk and lives could potentially be lost, something needs to be expedited.”

A city official said they were exploring all options.