Daniel Hall had just fallen asleep in his apartment on Factory Street in Watertown on Sunday evening, when he heard a growing commotion.
“I said, 'What’s going on, officers?'" Hall said. "He said, ‘This place is being condemned, so I’ll allow you to get a couple things just for the night, and tomorrow, hopefully, we'll be up and running.’ I said, 'no problem.‘“
However, there was a problem, a very big problem.
After a fire alarm went off earlier, it was determined the building had a faulty fire system, a violation of code. Hall says he has since learned that code officers later found plumbing and electrical issues, as well as concerns about living conditions.
What You Need To Know
- Dozens of people were removed from their homes after city officials condemned an apartment building Sunday
- Many of those removed have set up tents in the building’s parking lot, where they have been temporarily living for days
- Neighbors have donated food, water and supplies to those still living in the parking lot
- Residents are asking building code officials to allow them inside the building to collect personal property
City officials condemned the building, and as of Wednesday night, it had not reopened.
Hall is not alone. He says 40 or so people live in this building, only some of which were lucky to have somewhere else to go.
Others had nowhere.
Those folks are now living in tents in the building's parking lot, such as a woman who had a blanket, a pillow and a fan, but little else. She is several months pregnant.
“It’s heartbreaking," Hall said. "It’s touching and overwhelming that a young lady is going through this, and that’s not even the icing on the cake. She doesn’t know where her next meal is coming from for herself or the baby. That makes it overwhelming on her end.”
The nightmare of a situation has, however, brought out some of the best in the community. Neighbors have brought food, water and other necessities as the folks here have gone days without being able to get inside of their home.
“That shows the love that we need and support to help one another," Hall said. "This way, everybody can come together, instead of going against each other in a tragic moment like this. This is not the time for all that."
He says he was told the building could open by the end of the week, but he is not hopeful.
Right now, he is asking that everyone be allowed inside for a few hours to grab some of their important belongs and paperwork.
Some of the residents say the tents do allow them to watch over the building to prevent looting.
Codes require the building to be brought up to code before it can be reopened.
The owner of the building could not be reached for comment.