A Belleville home that was the subject of a YouTube video pleading for help to save it is still standing nearly a month after being scheduled for demolition.
The house has not yet been brought down because a portion of N. 88th Street (also known as Illinois 157) has to be torn up to remove a gas line, said Robert Sabo, the city's director of Health, Housing, Building and Zoning. The road will need to be shut down for the work to be completed.
The city is awaiting a permit from the Illinois Department of Transportation so the roadwork can be performed and the house scheduled, again, for demolition. Sabo was unsure of when the permit will be issued.
The home at 466 N. 88th Street in Belleville was damaged by fire on Nov. 12, 2011. Fifteen months later, homeowner John Foutch had not made enough repairs to make the home inhabitable and was informed by the Belleville city attorney's office that it would be demolished by the middle of March.
Representatives from the city had continuous correspondence with Foutch after the fire, Sabo said. However, after Foutch stopped corresponding, two certified letters were sent to the 88th Street address to inform Foutch that he needed to obtain a permit to begin rehabilitation of his house.
Foutch signed the first letter, Sabo said. The second letter was returned unsigned, prompting Bauman to contact Foutch directly on March 6, 2012. Bauman gave Foutch 30 additional days to get a permit.
Sabo said Foutch then stopped corresponding with the city and did not get a permit. The case was turned over to the city attorney's office on April 23. The city attorney's office began the process of condemning the house.
Foutch posted the YouTube video at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dkgCQ3l4GN0&feature=youtube but he admitted he never applied for a rehabilitation permit. "I went down there to get the paper, but everything on that has changed," he said previously. "They were too complicated to fill out."
After being served the demolition notice, Foutch searched unsuccessfully for an attorney to take up a case against the city. The Foutches had no homeowners insurance at the time of the fire. They had been relying on donations and selling pit bull puppies to help them get money to rebuild.
Foutch said last week he was told by the city that the house would be demolished at noon on Friday, March 15, but the city never showed up or contacted him to tell him the demolition was delayed. He said he moved everything out of the house into the area along the street to prepare for the demolition. He then had to sleep along the street because he caught people stealing his items.
Sabo said the city has not been able to reach Foutch to inform him of the delays because Foutch will not provide a phone number or address where he can be contacted.
"I drive by occasionally to see if he is there, but I haven't seen him," Sabo said.