After toddler rescued from ledge a light is shined on a bigger problem with squatters in Fresno

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A toddler rescued from a second story ledge shines a light on a bigger problem in Fresno with squatters. (KFSN)

A close call in Downtown Fresno when a four-year-old boy was rescued from a second story ledge of an abandoned building. Police said his mom was asleep downstairs. This dangerous situation has shed light on a much bigger problem with squatters.

On H Street and Inyo in Downtown Fresno a woman named Estela, calls the sidewalk her home.

"You gotta survive, you gotta survive out here big time."

She's been out her for two months, surviving on her own, but she's far from alone. Across the street, she has neighbors living in an abandoned building.

"I would rather be in there than be out here in the open."

It's trespassing and people who take up residence are called squatters. Glen Lundeen has been dealing with them for years. He owns property nearby.

"It's sort of been a magnet here of people coming that, a lot of 'em with a lifestyle, they just don't want to do anything."

It has become the norm for him. With people constantly going in and out, so much that the numbers are hard to track. And he wasn't surprised, when he heard the story from police about the four-year-old boy who was spotted on the second story of a building on Tuesday, standing on a thin ledge.

"A child like that shouldn't even be around here," said Lundeen.

Police said officers convinced the boy to crawl back inside a window. When they forced their way in, they found his mom, Nicole Legere, asleep.

Lt. Joe Gomez said she was part of the problem, a squatter with drug paraphernalia on her and two kids, the four-year-old and a two-year-old girl.

"Just looking at that apartment and what is inside there, she's been here for quite a while."

The kids were taken away and Legere was arrested for child endangerment.

"It's not a place for people to live," said Estela. "I wouldn't take my kids in there."

Estela said she takes her chances outside. When she's able to, she said she'll be on the bus to another town. But someone will likely take her place here.

There was a second woman squatting in the building who was also arrested. Police say she had an unrelated warrant for child endangerment out of Visalia.
Related Topics:
societyhomelessfresnoarrestchild endangermentFresno - Downtown
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