Concerns about abandoned house fires

Posted at 5:34 PM, Feb 25, 2016
and last updated 2016-02-25 17:42:04-05

Neighbors say they saw homeless people coming in and out of a home on Ardmore Road in West Palm Beach in the days leading up to a fire.

The home caught fire two nights in a row.

West Palm Beach police arrested Christopher Hice. They say Hice is homeless and was squatting in the home.

"It has been vacant a long time and makes the neighborhood look bad," neighbor Robert Bohm said.

Bohm said homelessness isn't a huge problem in the area surrounding Flamingo Park, but he said he is concerned about squatting.

"I see homeless people living in the alley all the time," Bohm said.

Neighbors in the area are known for being vigilant and have strong neighborhood associations.

The arson comes weeks after a series of other fires on the city's north side.

A number of houses burned and a homeless woman was arrested.

Neighbors along Division Avenue say drug dealers and prostitutes are known to go inside the abandoned homes.

West Palm Beach has a program where they board up and secure abandoned homes. But the city administrator said on Thursday they are limited in what they can do.