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Some residents also hurled insults at the owners of Ideal Market at Chene and Ferry, accusing them of burning down the store for insurance money.
“We don’t know what happened,” the owner said in broken English. “We were on our way back and saw the fire in the front. It could have been anything.”
She wanted to be a mom and teacher. Now she walks around in a short black skirt, shivering with her arms folded around a light jean jacket.
Crews recently wiped out a 10-block area that included decaying buildings, thick overgrowth and discarded tires and needles.
The cost to demolish six houses, level trees, till the land and clean up discarded tires and trash: just $200,000.
On the east side, an abandoned dollar store and vacant house along Chene also were targeted with the same erratic paint patterns, presumably from a fire extinguisher packed with paint.