August 24, 2013

Landlord, tenants criticize rapid Augusta evictions

Residents had just a few hours to vacate an apartment building that the city had declared unsafe.

By KEITH EDWARDS Kennebec Journal

(Continued from page 1)

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William Thorp puts his hand to his head while discussing having to move on short notice Friday, August 23, 2013 at 9 Laurel St. in Augusta.

Staff photo by Joe Phelan

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City officials told residents to quickly move out from 9 Laurel St. in Augusta on Friday, August 23, 2013.

Staff photo by Joe Phelan

Additional Photos Below

Overton said the building was inspected by officials from the code enforcement office, the Fire Department and the State Fire Marshal's Office. He said the inspection was scheduled after an exterior inspection was conducted last week, after a call from a probation officer who expressed concern about the condition of the stairs.

He confirmed some work had taken place at the building in the week between the two inspections, but "the problems with the building are more than could be taken care of in a few days of work." He said some of the work was painting and cleaning, not structural.

Overton said the city would work to make sure the displaced tenants found suitable housing.

Fleury, owner of many apartment buildings in the city and president of the Augusta Downtown Alliance, said he had fire escapes put on the building many years ago, as well as a new roof and plumbing, and has had it rewired. He acknowledged the fire escapes may not be up to current code, but said when they were installed, the city approved them.

Fleury said he will have the required work done to bring the building up to code. He has owned the multiple-story building since 1984. According to city records, it was built in 1900 and is valued at $168,200.

"I have no choice. I have to," he said of bringing the building up to code. "I'm not going to be irresponsible and let that building sit there and rot. We understand the city feels pressured, because there have been so many fires. I understand that and am willing to sit at the table and work with the city, but don't take away our income (that would allow me) to do the work."

Keith Edwards can be contacted at 621-5647 or at: 

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Additional Photos

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Eric Smith loads up a trailer, as he helps his friend William Throp who had to move on short notice.

Staff photo by Joe Phelan

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Peter Coltart carries bags of belonging towards a taxi as he moves out of 9 Laurel St. in Augusta on Friday August 23, 2013.

Staff photo by Joe Phelan


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