PITTSTON, LUZERNE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — Pittston city officials have had it with a longtime problem property, so Tuesday they tore it down.
The property owner lives in Colorado. He was given an ultimatum: fix it up or demolish it. He did neither, so Tuesday the wrecking crew was called in.
A three-story building that had been vacant and falling apart for the past decade is now a pile of rubble. Many people in that neighborhood say they never thought they would see this day.
“I think everybody is ecstatic. Everybody’s happy. I even had to call off from work today to be here for it. It’s a good day,” neighbor Bridget Degerolamo said.
For folks in this neighborhood, it was Christmas morning, Super Bowl Sunday and a snow day combined into one. The old Paddy’s Pub on North Main Street was finally being torn down. And many people took video and photos of the big event.
“Well, that’s what we were afraid of were the fires and stuff. You go to bed at night you don’t know what’s going on. Somebody could flip a match in there you know what I mean?” neighbor John Redding said.
“I’m not fooling around. I warned him a long time ago. I’m not playing chicken. I’m driving into him right now,” Pittston Mayor Michael Lombardo said
Lombardo and other city officials have been trying to work with the property owner, who lives in Colorado, to have something done with the place. That never happened.
“This has gone on for far too long. Situations like this will no longer be tolerated. I think he was given ample warning. I think we handled it in a professional and courteous manner while he was sitting in Colorado and slung derogatory remarks at us,” Lombardo said.
And the mayor’s efforts are not lost on the people in this neighborhood.
“Mayor Lombardo promised this quite some time ago and he stuck to it. It took a lot of work I’m really really happy today,” Degerolamo said.
Eyewitness News reached out to the owner of the property, Douglas Bruce, for comment on this action taken by the city of Pittston. We have not heard back from him. He told Eyewitness News in May that Pittston officials did not understand property law and that they could not force him to take any action on his property.
The cost of the demolition is still being tallied. The bill will be sent to the property owner and a lien will be placed on the land.