WDBJ 7 is learning new details about Tuesday night’s house fire along 13th Street in Roanoke.
According to the Roanoke City Fire Department, the house had been scheduled for demolition for months. Fire officials soon determined someone intentionally set the abandoned house on fire.
WDBJ 7 learned on Thursday that the Virginia Department of Transportation bought the home, along with 30 other homes on 13th Street, about two years ago.
According to VDOT spokesman Jason Bond, the department will begin knocking them down in a matter of months.
Bond said VDOT bought the homes for a widening project.
VDOT plans to build a bridge over the 13th Street railroad tracks to help alleviate traffic congestion, but this isn't your typical demolition project.
VDOT has hired a contractor that specializes in environmental safety. According to Bond, some of the homes have lead paint and asbestos in them. Therefore, the contractor will have to determine how to demolish and clear the site on an individual basis.
Some residents in the area reached out to WDBJ 7 regarding the project. They expressed concerns after this week's fire, but Bond said they have nothing to worry about.
"The contractor does whatever it takes to properly meet the requirements of disposal of materials,” he said. “They are hauled to landfills with appropriate sites that are determined to be appropriate for those types of materials so people really don't need to be concerned about the demolition of the homes."
Bond said the project will cost about $39 million dollars. As long as funding stays on schedule, bridge construction is expected to begin next year.
Bond said VDOT has no intentions of tearing down the house that was set on fire earlier than scheduled. He said it does not pose an immediate danger to the area.