It’s a safety issue |

It’s a safety issue

Dear Editor:

After reading the articles in both papers about the hoarder Mel Sied I am a bit frustrated. It is not a neighbor dispute, but a public safety issue and hazard for my family and everyone else on Dale Avenue.

I lived in the other half of the duplex next to Mel for almost three years; within his house he has open exposed wiring, propane tanks, full gasoline containers, butane tanks, white gas containers and other flammables. In the past year I had to call the gas company and the fire department eight times due to smelling natural gas leaks from his half of the duplex. The gas company has been out many times and has red-tagged his property as well. Instead of fixing the leaks Mr. Sied would just turn the gas back on.

The city has done nothing after many months, and only after I took this matter to Aspen City Council did they start addressing the issue. On April 12, I spoke in front of the council and was told by city attorney Jim True that I could not show the video of Mel’s house due to liability issues as I presented my case. Mr. True then displayed his ignorance and apathy for this case when he told the council that the city has looked into this matter, taken action, inspected Mel’s property, and intends to take no further action against Mr. Sied.

Well, let me tell you that the inspections by the fire marshal and building department did not include walking onto Mel’s property or inspecting the inside of his house, and when the City Council asked the city officials if they had physically inspected the property they finally admitted they had not.

I am not saying we need more fire and building codes in this town, but what we need is for them to be properly enforced. Mr. True is worried about the liability of showing video and code violations inside Mr. Sied’s house? What about the liability with the city when the next family moves into the duplex and they don’t realize they have moved in next to a time bomb waiting to explode? The city gave me only one option, to move, and I have done that, but are they going to wait for a disaster to happen like Massey Energy did with the coal mine back East, and BP did with the oil rig in the Gulf? I urge you to make your own objective decision about this by viewing the following link:

I would like the thank the city of Aspen Police Department, the fire department, Source Gas, Aspen City Council and specifically safety officer Gretchen Borne for their help in these matters.

Eric Haynie