EYEWITNESS LOCAL NEWSCONDEMNED BUILDING UPDATE
from Eyewitness News Online
Many Still Searching For Place To Live After Apartment Building Shut Down
Reported by: Elizabeth Noreika
Videographer: Troy Morgan
Web Producer: Jeff Morris
Reported: Jan. 3, 2013 4:54 PM EST
Updated: Jan. 8, 2013 11:06 AM EST
Charleston , Kanawha County , West Virginia
An apartment building shut down because of unsanitary conditions has many still looking for a place to live.
Jessica Chafin along with about a dozen others living at 1411 Jackson St. in Charleston were told to pack up and move out after city and health inspectors deemed the building unfit for human habitation Thursday.
Inspectors found cockroaches and other bugs and said there are problems with the heating unit.
Chafin said she is frustrated “because to me it feels like everyone looks at you and says it’s your fault. None of this is my fault. I did what I had to do. I paid rent, and I’m still going to be out on the street.
But building code official Tony Harmon said that’s not the case. He said city officials been working to try and help these people find a place to go.
“The building department didn’t set a date,” Harmon said. “We just want them out as quickly as possible. They understand it’s a dangerous situation.”
Harmon said the building is set up like a rooming house, where people share common areas like the bathroom and kitchen, and have a private bedroom. But he said in this case the house isn’t up to code or set up properly to operate that way, making it unsafe and unsanitary for people to live there.
“You have unsanitary conditions, uncleanliness, partially due to not to having the facilities they needed. Some of them didn’t have water turned on,” Harmon said.
Conditions like these are common in the Charleston area, Harmon said, and officials on average close up buildings or apartments two or three times a week for health reasons. The building landlord, Harold Stone, was arrested following the shutdown after police said he tried to attack an officer with a screwdriver.
It’s a very stressful situation for all involved, and that’s left many like Chafin feeling defeated.
“I don’t what to stay here,” Chafin said. “But as of right now, that’s the only roof I got.”
Building inspectors said it is possible in the future for this building to reopen, but a lot of work would need to be done before that could happen. Eyewitness News is told a lot of problems weren’t properly fixed, and it’s made the situation there much worse.
A Charleston landlord was arrested after he allegedly threatened police with a screwdriver and shoved an officer in the chest when authorities came to investigate his property, police said.
Officials said 15 to 20 residents were displaced after the property on Jackson Street was condemned.
Following the incident, Timothy Harold Stone, 44, of Charleston was charged with battery on a police officer, brandishing a weapon and carrying a concealed weapon, according to a news release from the Charleston Police Department.
Police said city officers were assisting the Charleston Building Commission on Thursday with an investigation at 1411 Jackson St, where police records indicate there have been more than 1,000 police calls for service over the past several years. Police said his property is well known for drug and prostitution problems. As police officers and building inspectors were at the scene to investigate alleged building and drug violations, the property owner, Stone, arrived and began arguing and allegedly threatening officers and inspectors, the release said.
The release said Stone brandished a screwdriver at Lt. Shawn Williams and shoved him in the chest after the landlord was issued a citation by the building inspectors. After a brief struggle, Stone was taken into custody by Williams and several other officers.
Police said Stone also had a 10-inch open switchblade.
The release said building inspectors condemned the property as a result of an infestation of parasitic insects, no primary source of heat and various fire hazard violations. About 15 to 20 residents were displaced as a result of the property owner not meeting city housing standards.
MORE NEWS FROM EYEWITNESS NEWS
2012 NEWS: JAN | FEB | MAR | APR | MAY | JUN | JUL | AUG | SEP | OCT | NOV | DEC
Home | Eyewitness News Newsroom | Storm Team Weather | Eyewitness Sports | Schedules
Send email to firstname.lastname@example.org for information or comments concerning WCHS-TV Eyewitness News.
Copyright ©2013, WCHS-TV8. Portions are
Copyright 2013 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or distributed.