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(Kenneth Craig, NECN: Worcester, MA) - As more and more homes hit foreclosure, public works officials say the disrepair problem is growing. The deep freeze has workers out around the clock, shutting off water to the homes, often after the pipes have already burst. Officials in Worcester say they've had to respond to a rising number of these cases, inside vacant homes. When there's no owner on record, the Public Works Department shoulders the burden of fixing the problem. It's a crisis that just won't seem to disappear. And as winter's fury brings temperature into the single digits. It just adds fuel to the fire that wont go out. It's bad enough that 2008 brought a recorded 12,430 foreclosures to the Commonwealth, up nearly 62 percent from last year. But even worse is the fact that many of these homes are sitting empty, unattended and often left in disrepair. And without the watchful eye of an owner or landlord, the properties are subject to Mother Nature, causing pipes inside abandoned homes to freeze and burst. But the question is, who's left to deal with this problem? The bank that now owns the vacant property is often out of state... And disconnected with the structural components of the property. So the problem lands on the plate of the Dept. of Public Works, who go to the home, fix the pipes, and add the repair cost to the homes value. When it sells, they hope to get the money back. According to the Dept. of Public Works, they've had to shut off water to over 100 homes in Worcester because of bursting pipes. The councilor says that if you see an empty home that looks at risk, notify the city immediately