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Demolition set to begin on Battle Creek home where landlord confessed to killing tenants

This comes after the home had two fires early Tuesday morning.
203 Post Avenue in Battle Creek- Fourth and Fifth Fires
Posted at 3:52 PM, Apr 20, 2021
and last updated 2021-04-20 15:52:50-04

BATTLE CREEK, Mich. — A Battle Creek home caught fire once again early Tuesday morning. It marks the fourth and fifth fires at the same house where a landlord confessed to killing his two tenants back in October.

The home at 203 Post Avenue was the site of two fires early Tuesday morning. Both times firefighters quickly put out the flames, but the damage from the five fires in just six months is leading the city and county to tear it down.

"It is an eyesore for the neighborhood. It also poses some good safety concerns, not only for just the residents--the neighborhood--but also our first responders as well, police and fire as well," said Jason Francisco, the code compliance manager for the City of Battle Creek.

The landlord, 53-year-old Chad Allen Reed, confessed to killing his two tenants Jaclyn Lepird and Joseph Soule back in October at the home.

Neighbors said now that they've seen a fourth and fifth fire, it has definitely become an issue.

"We have heard from many neighbors in the area. Again, people congregate at this address. Now, we have experienced four and five fires, which make it a problem," said Francisco.

The Battle Creek Fire Marshal said the first call came in around 2:41 a.m., and the second call came in at 3:56 a.m.

He said both fires were small and were set outside of the home. The fire marshal said like the previous fires, it is suspicious.

The first fire happened in October 2020, a couple days after Reed confessed to killing the couple. Then the second fire broke out on March 30 and for a third time April 7.

A neighbor said the property brings back bad memories and wishes it would be demolished. That is what the county has planned for it.

"The Calhoun County Treasurer’s Office has taken possession for tax foreclosure back on March 31st," said Francisco.

The county took possession for non-payment of taxes by Chad Allen Reed over the last three years.

Francisco said the home started in the dangerous buildings process a few months ago, but with Reed incarcerated and not being able to attend meetings, it became difficult.

Now, the Calhoun County Treasurer's Office is moving forward and working with the city to get rid of it, already hiring a contractor to get going.

"Our goal would be to have the disconnects again, water, sewer, electric and gas, provided in the next couple of days. Hopefully by the end of the week, we can have this demolition completed," said Francisco.

The City said they were planning to start demolition on Wednesday but are still waiting on the disconnects for gas, sewer, water and electric.

They said their goal is to have the home on the ground by the end of the week.

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