Ashland, Kentucky (WSAZ) – In a follow-up to a story we reported nearly a week ago, residents of an apartment complex in Ashland must find new homes after the city condemned the building.
The city deemed the building a public safety risk after it was found that the building’s hot water system did not have proper carbon monoxide ventilation.
Kimberly Keagy of WSAZ is looking for answers from a landlord after the city’s actions affected nearly thirty families.
Among them is Josh Virgin, who said he was speechless when he came home to a sign posted on the front door of his apartment building. That sign said the building was dangerous and unsafe – and he has now been condemned.
“I worked hard for everything I got and for him to take it from me and take me out into the street,” Virgin said.
He, along with more than 30 other families, had called the Vincent Apartments home – until last week.
Jerry Thomas lived in the apartment block for four years.
“My bag is full of things I kept for my daughters like her old school papers, her first tooth, and her children’s irreplaceable shoes,” Thomas said.
The city of Ashland condemned the apartments to a repair or demolition order nearly a week ago, saying the property poses a public safety risk.
Chris Bolem, Ashland’s director of community and economic development, said this comes after city law enforcement officers responded to the building in January to a complaint about a boiler not working.
A report from a law enforcement visit that day reads in part, “One of the boilers in the building was not working, so the heat in part of the building was not working.”
This report also shows that on several units, carbon monoxide detectors were missing or not working.
In addition, Bolm said, law enforcement has also found that the basement hot water heater does not have proper carbon monoxide ventilation — a problem he says can be fatal.
So, his office called the building owner and told him that if he could correct the problems, they would only have to condemn seven units instead of the entire building.
Over time, Bulme said, some necessary repairs were made, but they were not enough to allow residents to stay there or allow them to return to those seven units.
Last week, Bolm said the city had no other choice but to shut down the entire building.
Keagy tried to contact Eric Vincent to ask him some questions.
“The person you are trying to reach is not accepting calls at this time. Please, try again later,” the message said.
On Wednesday, Keagy tried calling again. This time, the call went through, but no one answered, so I left a message.
The city says Vincent has been in the apartments several times in the past few days, so Keagy even tried to get him to visit – but with no luck.
Residents like Thomas say they just wish they didn’t end up losing their homes.
“It’s heartbreaking to see people, everyone go out with their things and know that everything they take out is not all they have,” he said.
The city provided resources to find temporary housing for the residents.
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