SAUGUS (CBS) – Once the site of a murder-suicide, a house on High Street in Saugus is now a new home for a local firefighter, thanks to a state program that turns around abandoned properties.

WBZ NewsRadio 1030’s Carl Stevens reports

The house at 23 High Street in Saugus had been empty since 1997 after James Leccese shot and killed his wife Judith and then himself.

The heirs wanted nothing to do with the home and nobody paid property taxes.

The town of Saugus then began working with the state’s Abandoned Housing Receivership program in an attempt to turn the property around.

Chelsea Restoration was contacted and became the property receiver.

“Property receiver is a term that is used when they [the state] would like to have renovations completed,” explained Helen Zucco, the Executive Director at Chelsea Restoration.

She added that there was a lot of work to be done.

“Evidentially someone had gone into the property and they were looking for valuables and they threw everything all over the place, in addition to severe code violations and animals were inside,” said Zucco.

“When I first moved here, I moved here about four years ago, it was a piece of junk.  I’m trying to be nice about it. It was run down, it looked like it was a haunted house really,” neighbor John Martinello told WBZ NewsRadio 1030.

“I’ve seen a lot of trash in there, it was just really disgusting let’s put it that way.  It was disgusting. And I think they had critters living in there.”

Zucco and Chelsea Restoration hired a contractor and began renovations in January.  They were completed in May and the house was later auctioned off.

A Malden firefighter closed on the four-bedroom home Wednesday.  He bought it for $214,000.

You can follow Carl on Twitter @carlwbz.


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