Dozens Evacuated From Indiana Apartment Building Deemed ‘A Health Hazard'

Many tenants NBC 5 spoke with say they will not be returning, even after repairs are made

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Dozens of residents at an Indiana apartment building spent their day Wednesday packing up and moving out of their homes Wednesday morning, after officials deemed the building unsafe because of a variety of health and safety concerns.

Residents who spoke to NBC 5 described the building as filthy and unattended, many even went as far as to say they feared for their health.

“The mold,the asbestos, the filth. I'm sorry (but) I work two jobs, I work very hard, and I feel we’ve been mistreated,” Sharon Wren said.

The building, located in the 200 block of East Street in Hobart, was lined with yellow signs reading 'Do Not Enter', with tenants coming and going with box after box containing their belongings.

“Everything is filthy, and it looks like there is fecal matter on the bottom of the stairs,” Wren said.

Many neighbors have complained about the living facilities, but simply cannot afford to move somewhere else. Wren is paying more than $750 a month, and does not believe she'll be able to find another apartment for that price.

Officials were tipped off to the building when they were responding to a welfare check for a neighbor, and from there the fire department made the decision to close the building down.

“We did we found some pretty severe conditions in the basement with health and safety issues,” Randy Smith The Fire Chief of Hobart Indiana said.

The basement is a particular area of concern, with boarded-up doors that are supposed to lead to a fire escape.

Neighbors also complained of seeing standing water in the area, and they fear mold and asbestos is present.

“Just being in here, you are breathing it. You can feel this air is thick I went home and threw up yesterday because they had the basement door open all day, that is what they had containing it, and on top of that they had someone living downstairs,” a neighbor said.

The landlord has returned rent for the month of July, as well as the security deposits of residents. He promises to have the building ready later in the year, but tenants say that is not enough.

The landlord is slated to meet with city officials to discuss the next steps next week.

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