AUGUSTA — Andrea Jellison and her husband drove into their driveway early Tuesday afternoon with the backseat of the car full of a month’s worth of groceries.

Augusta police and a city code enforcement officer met the couple and told them that their apartment and two others in the four-story building at 11 State St. had been deemed unfit to live in, so they could not stay there.

“But I have a 6-year-old,” Jellison, 25, said through her tears as she wondered aloud where the family could stay. “I have $4 to my name. I just spent $200 on groceries.”

Robert Overton, Augusta’s code enforcement officer, told her the building was unsafe.

Overton posted the building with red signs indicating it was unfit for occupancy, citing the condition of the decks or front porches that allow access to each apartment.

Parts of the porch were propped with timbers, and in several sections the green railing was missing pickets.

Overton, who said the matter was brought to his attention Tuesday morning, said Jellison could go in and out of the apartment to get belongings, but could not remain there.

As Overton canvassed the building, Battalion Chief Ed Charles of the Augusta Fire Department, took stock of the porches from the driveway.

“If we had to respond and get people out of there, by the time the fire department got to the third floor with a hose and equipment and people, it would come tumbling down,” he said.

Overton said he spoke that morning to the building’s owner, Kenneth Ouellette, of North Monmouth, who said he was working to fix up the decks.

Kenneth and Penny Ouellette bought the building in 2006 for $145,000. It is assessed at $116,600, according to city records, which show that it was built in 1885.

“I informed him it was in such condition I couldn’t allow people to continue using it,” Overton said. And the dilapidated porch was the only access to the building, he said.

Overton was able to contact the occupants of only two apartments Tuesday afternoon; the tenants of one unit were not home.

Overton said he would return today to try to reach them again. He wanted to explain to each tenant “why we’re doing it and why it’s best to leave.”

If the tenants refused, he said he would ask the city attorney to seek a court order forcing them to go.

Jellison and Victor Wilkinson and their son had lived in the top floor apartment since August. Jellison said she believed up to six children under age 18 lived in the three affected apartments.

She said the porches have looked like that since she moved in. She told the officers she understood why the family was no longer allowed to live there, but it was the shock of having it happen so suddenly.

“I thought we’d have some sort of notice,” she said.

Jellison said she’s a stay-at-home mom and the family receives food stamps.

The ground floor unit, which has a different access, was not affected by the closing order.

Overton and an Augusta police officer suggested Jellison contact the Augusta Housing Authority and the city’s health and welfare office for assistance.

Jellison said Ouellette told them that he would not pay for a place for them to stay Tuesday night.

Ouellette did not respond to a message left on his home phone Tuesday.

Betty Adams — 621-5631

[email protected]