Homeowner takes on neighbor's eyesore in Glendale

GLENDALE, AZ - You know that house down the street. Yeah, the one with the overgrown yard or house that's falling apart.

You've probably thought there's nothing you can do about it. Maybe you've been concerned about your property value declining because of it.

That's been a concern of Ron George. Ron's got the niceset, greenest lawn in his Glendale neighborhood, by far. He takes great pride in keeping his property looking nice. In the past, he helped clean out the drug dealers across the street.

Now he's eyeing a house a couple of doors down. It's not a pretty sight.

The yard is full of overgrown, patchy weeds.

There's a wrecked car in the driveway and what looks like garbage around the entry. And Ron has had enough.

"It's something that everyone driving by says wow, this must be a real trashy area. If your neighborhood is run down then other things follow is my opinion," Ron tells me.

He says he's gone to the City of Glendale. But he doesn't feel they've done enough. And he says the homeowner doesn't seem interested in talking about it.

"I've tried to speak to this gentleman. He won't answer his door," Ron says.

So he let me know about it.

We contacted the city of Glendale.

They say they originally cited the homeowner, Evan Savage, in November of 2013 because he's had numerous violations that haven't been brought up to code. So they have to let the legal process play out. And they say the case against Savage continues.

While I was out talking with Ron, I noticed a truck pull into a driveway down the street. It turned out to be Evan Savage and he told me his story.

I asked Ron to follow me back.

"So this is Evan. This is Ron, " I introduced them. Yes, this is the first time the neighbors have ever met. Evan tells us he's been "trying to work with the city and trying to get volunteer help,"

He says volunteers have helped him clean the place in the past, because he's not financially or physically able to get the work done himself.

"I injured myself fighting fire."

Evan is a retired Phoenix firefighter, a military veteran and he says he's still having a very tough time getting over the death of his wife a few years ago.

"She was just a beautiful person and I can't tell you how much I miss her."

All of that he says, has led to the neglect of his house and yard. They are stories Ron has never heard.

"If you didn't mind, I'd be able to come and treat it for you," Ron tells Evan.

In the meantime, Ray Maione with the Phoenix firefighter's union found out about Evan's situation.

"We went out and made contact with him that next day and brought him back to the fold with us," Ray says.

Maione is the vice president of member services, and he rallied the troops, or rather, the firefighters.

"A bunch of firefighters are going there and clean up his house top to bottom," he tells me.

And it's already starting to happen. Firefighters even built Evan a big fence across his driveway to hide the backyard from view.

They say they will be out monthly to take care of the yard as well.

The city of Glendale officials say Evan is now almost in compliance.

While that won't stop the process of their case against him, they say the "prosecutors and the judge always have the option to decide a minimal consequence."

And Ron was able to see Evan as something other than just the owner, of the eyesore.

"I respect you as a firefighter. I respect you as my elder and my neighbor. And if I can help you, I'm two doors down sir," he told Evan.

Later, Ron told me he's happy about the outcome.

"I think it's great. Unfortunately it took this much hassle to meet my neighbor, but I can only see positives from it."

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