Remaining townhomes to be burned in Urbana
URBANA — Firefighters on Thursday will burn down the remaining five buildings in the Urbana Townhomes complex on Lierman Avenue.
Personnel from area fire departments since last fall have been setting the vacant buildings ablaze for rare training opportunities. The goal is to burn the buildings completely to the ground with next week's burn.
They'll start the fire around 8 a.m. Thursday and expect to have the last building down by 4 p.m., according to an Urbana Fire Department press release. Area residents should expect a lot of fire trucks from different agencies and heavy smoke during the day.
Lierman Avenue between Washington and Hunter streets will be closed to traffic during the burn.
City officials started condemning the buildings and moving residents out of the Urbana Townhomes complex in 2011 after the structures were found to be unsafe and hazardous. The city eventually took ownership of the complex and started planning its demolition in 2012.
Neighbors and elected officials have expressed their pleasure in seeing the buildings go — the troubled apartment complex drew most of the blame for a pocket of crime and blight in the neighborhood.