Frustrated Montco residents leave condemned building
WHITEMARSH TWP., Pa. - May 17, 2012 (WPVI) -- "This doesn't make sense," said resident Gary Ebinger. "How can you do this anybody in two days?"
The news hit residents like a bolt of lightning. Red "condemned" signs went up at the Washington Towers Apartments Wednesday at noon. Folks who live in this 80-unit complex were told they must vacate their homes by Thursday at noon.
Those who have the resources started boxing up and moving out.
"Right now we're just going to live with family and friends for probably a month or so until we find a better place," said resident Danny Avery.
But others say they have no place to go. Service agencies, while sympathetic, have so far offered no help finding shelter.
"I don't know what to do," said Michael Hamill. "It's hopeless. I have no family in the area. I have no excess income to get another apartment."
The soon-to-be-evicted residents are collateral damage in a long-simmering dispute between Whitemarsh Township and the owners of Washington Towers.
The issue is fire code violations. New alarms have been installed. But officials say problems persist, including fire doors that don't function correctly and compromised plywood floors.
The township's fire marshal, Scott Lynch, says a fire could spread.
"My responsibility is the well-being of the residents of this township and that building's not safe enough for people to live in," said Lynch.
As for the residents who fear becoming homeless Friday, Assistant Whitemarsh Township Manager E.J. Lee told Action News, "We will do everything we can to make sure that people are not living out on the streets. As of right now I don't know exactly what the solutions are."
But Lee said the Township is committed to helping displaced residents who have nowhere to go.
pennsylvania, montgomery county, local/state, john rawlins
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