Yakima City Codes enforcement have been working this winter to keep people out of vacant properties. 77 vacant buildings exist in within the Yakima City limits.  Code Administration Manager and Yakima Fire Marshal Joe Caruso says they've been working with property owners to try and get the buildings fixed up or demolished. Caruso says the biggest problem with the vacant buildings is people getting into the buildings and lighting warming fires that lead to bigger fires. "We were getting 7 to 8 a week and now we're getting one every three or four months because of our enforcement. If you're caught in a building the city shuts down it's a gross misdemeanor. You can go to jail for up to 364 days."
Caruso says when people would break into the vacant buildings  neighborhoods would see an increase in fires, burglaries and car prowls.
He says with the patrols they've been doing during the winter they've nearly elminated the problem coming directly from people who live in the vacant  buildings.

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