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Beaumont man fighting to save house says demolition on hold - 12 News KBMT and K-JAC. News, Weather and Sports for SE Texas

Beaumont man fighting to save house says demolition has been put on hold

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BEAUMONT -

UPDATE: Rivas says he has hired an attorney who filed a temporary restraining order against the city. Rivas says the demolition has been put on hold.

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Chuy Rivas was hard at work Friday afternoon trying to fix up a house he owns on Avenue C, and for good reason.

"They told me that at the end of February they will demolish my house," Rivas told 12News.

The City of Beaumont first notified Rivas in June of 2012 that the house was unsafe, and faced demolition if it wasn't brought up to code. Rivas was granted extensions on two separate occasions for entering what is called a city "work program", but now has just one week left before the building he says he's poured his life savings into is torn down.

"I'm like $20,000-$30,000 in the hole... but I'm almost finished with the house," Rivas said.

Rivas says he only needs about 3 more months to get the necessary electrical and plumbing work completed and to cover all the walls with sheet rock.

"That's what I'm asking for, a little more time to finish... if (I'm not finished after 3 months), believe me, I'd even help them tear it down," he said.

But tearing down the house he's owned for 20 years is the last thing Rivas wants to do. He says he needs the house in order to survive.

At 64 years old, Rivas says he's struggling to make ends meet, living mainly off Social Security and the little amount he earns running a small auto body shop on Wall Street. He wants to rent out the house in order to earn more income and pay back his enormous debt.

With the deadline quickly approaching, Rivas is scared for what his future holds, but refuses to give up.

"I guess I'll be here 'til they tear it down. I'll be in it."

City of Beaumont Building Codes Director Chris Boone calls it an unfortunate circumstance, but says the deadline is rigid, regardless of how much money has been put into the home. However, Boone says Rivas can file for a temporary restraining order against the city, requesting that the courts allow him to finish the work.

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