Wrecking machine at his front door, disabled veteran tries to save home

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) – Marine veteran Ronald Devers is on a mission to save his East Side home which has been in his family for decades. Fire ripped through the house on East Utica Street, in April, and now the City of Buffalo is in the process of tearing it down.

Devers contacted Call 4 Action in desperation, “I am asking for the assistance of others to help keep a house that has been in the community for over a 100 years, still in the community.”

Smoke and flames destroyed the roof, gutted the attic and most of the second floor, causing serious water damage to the rest of the house and his belongings. Devers has been trying to get a roof over the house, but he also disabled, and has only managed to cover the top floor with a tarp.

City safety inspectors have told Devers they are just not seeing any progress, “that it is not enough work. I am one individual on a fixed income, and I am doing my best to keep it.”

Dever’s family and friends have been pitching in, trying to help–removing tons of his water-logged belongings, boarding up the windows and doors, and he is trying to rebuild, “I am a veteran that has been trying to save a house that has been in my family for over 60 years,” and the former marine said records indicate the house was built more than 150 years ago.

The problem is, Dever’s home was not insured, although he said he tried to get it covered, but because of the age of the house he couldn’t get it. Meanwhile, Devers is homeless.

“If I could get materials to do the job, I have members in the community, family, plenty of different avenues to assist me with it.”

Devers is in a fight against the clock. City officials have already signed a demolition order, but Ron and his friends are not ready to give up.

Longtime friend Gregory Cornelius said, if they could the building material, he could pull together a crew that could replace the roof, “We work on houses and roofing, that is what we do. We do houses,” said Cornelius pointing at Devers’ home, “we did the roofing on this before it got burned up halfway. We can do this, we just need a little bit of help.”

But the fate of Dever’s home might already be sealed. Shortly News 4’s interview Wednesday, a piece of heavy construction equipment, an excavator, was dropped off right at Dever’s front door.

Dever’s only hope, as of Wednesday night, seems to be obtaining a court order before demolition gets underway.

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