• Thu. Jun 20th, 2024

Illinois apartment tenants said they were trapped inside units after property was boarded up

Byusanewscart.com

Jan 8, 2024

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Harvey, Illinois residents living in an apartment building became trapped inside their units after their doors and windows were boarded shut, according to reports.

FOX 32 in Chicago reported that some residents in the apartment complex, located on S. Halsted Street, became trapped inside, and when videos made the rounds on social media, several people raised concerns.

One resident, Rudolph Williams, said he was trapped inside one of the units and told the station he “didn’t hear anybody knock on the door” Friday morning before the door was boarded up.

Photos of the more than 30 now boarded up units show non-occupancy orders.

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Harvey, Illinois boarded up apartments

Some Harvey, Illinois residents were reportedly trapped inside their units after they were boarded up on Friday. (FOX 32 Chicago)

Residents at the development told the station there were at least five families still inside their apartments with their belongings.

“Contrary to recent claims, the city did not evict anyone from these properties but has communicated with the property owners regarding the unsafe conditions of the buildings and need to immediately rectify the dangerous living conditions,” city officials said in a post on Facebook.

The City of Harvey posted several photos of the apartment complex on social media showing deplorable living conditions and major structural concerns.

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Holes in stairs

Harvey, Illinois Halsted Street apartments were boarded up after the building’s structural integrity became compromised. (City of Harvey)

Some of the photos show broken concrete and rusted out holes in staircases leading to the second floor, personal belongings being stored in stairwells, piles of garbage left on the property grounds and overflowing dumpsters.

In October 2023, the City of Harvey launched an extensive investigation into the property, along with discussions with the property owners, Jay Patel and Henry Cho, regarding structural issues and collapsed stair risers.

The city also discussed the numerous 911 calls for illegal acts taking place at the property.

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Garbage at the apartment complex

Garbage was strewn on the property grounds at an apartment complex on Halsted Street in Harvey, Illinois. (City of Harvey)

Two months prior, the city had a meeting and recommended the property owners hire a structural engineer to assess the damages. The city’s building department granted a two-week period to hire the contractor and urged the property owners to erect temporary structures to block the stairs.

The city said it also emphasized to the owners the need to vacate the building for safety reasons as construction was underway, granting the owners an extension until the end of October for residents to arrange other housing.

City officials said in the post that the property owners were told the structural integrity of the building had surpassed its life expectancy, and the building needed to be evacuated by Oct. 28.

“The responsibility to communicate this information to tenants was also emphasized,” the city said.

Multiple assessments on the property took place between Oct. 28 and Dec. 14, at which point the city’s building department determined two buildings at the property posed “imminent safety risk,” mainly because of the deterioration of the balconies and stairs.

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Then on Friday, the city added, the owners of the property boarded both buildings as city police conducted inspections and wellness checks.

Fox News Digital reached out to Mayor Christopher J. Clark for comment but did not immediately hear back.

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