Apartment tenants forced to move days after visit from fire marshal in Washington

On Harned Avenue, there is a house that has been converted into apartments. It's what a handful of people call home. We talked to three tenants who wished to stay anonymous, but they invited News 10 up to the house to talk to them.

Posted: Jan. 13, 2019 7:51 PM
Updated: Jan. 13, 2019 10:45 PM

WASHINGTON, Ind. (WTHI)- Imagine being told in the dead of winter you have five days to move out. That's the reality for some people in Washington, Indiana.

On Harned Avenue, there is a house that has been converted into apartments. It's what a handful of people call home.

We talked to three tenants who wished to stay anonymous, but they invited News 10 up to the house to talk to them.

"I was in total shock, I wasn't expecting it at all."

"It was like the world was kind of against me."

Both of these comments describing their reaction when they heard the news.

The tenants said their landlord and the state fire marshal's office visited the property last Wednesday. They told us the state fire marshal said the property wasn't up to code and gave them one week to move out.

Then, they say their landlord told them they had five days to leave, making it even more difficult to move out.

"There’s no ladder to go out the window for fire safety so they can get down from the two-story building. No sprinkler system in the whole house. I understand what the fire marshal is coming from, it's not his doing. But she could still at least warned us," said another resident who was still looking for a place to go.

The landlord showed up and asked us to leave the property, so we obliged. They declined to comment on the situation, but News 10 called her later in the day, and she said she did want to talk.

The landlord told me she didn't know about the violations prior and was sorry about the situation. The landlord said she's meeting with officials to try to address the issues.

Even though there are efforts being made to make the repairs, these residents remain frustrated by making the following comments.

"I won't live here as long as she owns it."
"I don't want to come back and rent from her again."
"I will find somewhere else. I will not rent from her again and hopefully, I will find somewhere soon to go."

The landlord told us she offered up her basement for those who couldn't find a place to stay, but when we talked to the residents, some of them were unsure of where they'd be going.

News 10 has reached out to the Indiana Fire Marshal's Office and the Washington Building Commissioner's Office. In an email, the state fire marshal's office says it is working to get us information.

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