SACO — Heather O’Reilly waited Thursday afternoon for her children, 8 and 6, to get off the school bus in front of what had been their home until Wednesday, when the city condemned it.

“This is the only place where the bus knows to drop them off,” she said.

O’Reilly, her kids and her boyfriend Scott Parish were among the roughly two dozen people displaced from the Hilltop Motor Inn after city officials deemed the building unsafe. The city revoked its occupancy permit because the owner failed to fix a long list of serious code violations, including missing smoke detectors and an unsafe electrical system, officials said.

The city provided vouchers to residents that would pay for up to a week at another motel. But as of Thursday, none had a vacancy for O’Reilly and her family, some saying they were full or did not take children, she said. It wasn’t clear where they stayed Wednesday and Thursday nights.

The city’s code enforcement office began receiving complaints about living conditions at the Hilltop Motor Inn on Main Street dating to 2013. Dick Lambert, the city’s code enforcement officer, said many of the initial complaints concerned bedbugs and were forwarded to state hotel inspection officials.

Maine’s Health Inspection Program inspects hotels every two years, according to program manager Lisa Silva. An inspector visited the inn May 18 after a bedbug complaint. Inspector Thomas Jenkins said he found no bedbugs in the unit where the complaint originated but did find a missing smoke detector, toilet facilities that were not cleaned and maintained and ceiling tiles that needed replacing, according to the report.

The building manager promised to replace the smoke detector immediately and send confirmation, the report said. The others were poor practice violations, not health risk violations.

The city stepped in last week when it was told by residents and hotel managers that other rooms were missing smoke detectors.

An Oct. 7 inspection by city and state officials turned up 28 violations, including missing smoke detectors in 10 units, exposed live electrical wiring, holes in the building and no sprinklers around the furnace. Lambert outlined the problems in a six-page notice of violation.

“This is pretty uncommon to have this extent of problems in one building,” Lambert said. “That’s probably just a matter of letting the building go and not maintaining it.”

The owner, Leon Foster of Bradenton, Florida, was given five days to fix the most serious safety issues. Lambert said a follow-up inspection Wednesday showed Foster had added smoke detectors and fixed another issue, but the most serious electrical problems were not addressed.

The most immediate impact of the crackdown on the landlord was on residents, many of them long-term tenants renting the rooms for $175 per week.

“We feel real bad for the occupants, but we can’t allow this to continue on and put these people’s lives at risk,” Lambert said. “That’s why we took the action we did. At this point, with the building empty, the owner can address the issues at his own pace and go from there.”

There was no listed telephone number for Foster in Florida and a local telephone number listed in city records went unanswered.

Lambert said 14 of the motel’s 20 rooms had been occupied, but he didn’t know exactly how many people were living there. He said there was just one family with young children. A copy of the letter notifying the owner of the violations was given to each tenant last Friday.

“We advised them we didn’t know if the code violations would be taken care of, but there was a possibility the building would be closed up, so plan accordingly,” Lambert said. “Some of them had already found other accommodations. Some of them don’t have the resources to do that.”

That describes O’Reilly and Parish, who were waiting at the bus stop Thursday in a borrowed pickup they planned to use to move their belongings. They city has helped but the couple could find no inn that would take them in Saco, Old Orchard Beach or Biddeford, O’Reilly said. She said there’s no room at the local shelter.

O’Reilly said she has no car and must stay in the area so she can walk to her job at McDonald’s. Parish said he just resumed driving a taxi after taking time off for a medical condition.

Parish said they were not dissatisfied with their apartment, where they had lived for the past two months, adding that it had a smoke detector and no bedbugs.

Parish said the ordeal has been hardest on the children.

“They’re emotional about it,” he said. “They don’t know where they’re going to sleep night to night.”

Gillian Graham can be contacted at 791-6315 or at:

[email protected]

Twitter: @grahamgillian