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Confusion continues over evacuations at Mt. Airy apartment building

Mt. Airy apartment building deemed an unsafe structure sending mixed messages to tenants
Mt. Airy apartment building deemed an unsafe structure sending mixed messages to tenants 02:58

Update: On June 5, 2024, a spokesperson with L&I said the department received an updated engineer's report stating the right wing of the D building is unsafe and must be vacant. The e-mail sent to CBS News Philadelphia said, "All apartments in the right wing of the D Building are now vacant.  The vacant apartments are D106, D107, D108, D109, D206, D207, D208, D209. The following apartments can be occupied…  D101, D102, D103, D104, D105, D201, D202, D203, D204 and D205." L&I said it does not have a timeline for when repair work will be completed or when tenants will be permitted to move back into the right wing of the D building.

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) --  CBS News Philadelphia was back at a Mt. Airy apartment complex weeks after the city deemed one of its buildings an unsafe structure. The property manager told tenants in a section of the building to leave, but in a statement to CBS News Philadelphia last week, a spokesperson from the Philadelphia Department of Licenses & Inspections said the entire building was evacuated.

Investigative reporter Liz Crawford found out some tenants are still living in that building and one brand new tenant, a veteran, Derrick Eckles said he is just moving in.

Shanika Bolton says she's lived at Stenton Gardens for five years, but now, she's moving out.

"I am moving out of my old apartment into my new apartment because I was told the building is dangerous and we need to evacuate," Bolton said.

While Bolton is moving out, Eckles said, "I just really pretty much moved the last of my things in there today and then I looked outside and I seen people moving out."

Eckles said he's a veteran and he found this apartment through a housing assistance program with the VA.

On May 1, the Philadelphia Department of Licenses & Inspections, or L & I, deemed building D an "unsafe structure."

CBS News Philadelphia asked independent engineers to inspect this building. They concluded it was too dangerous to have people inside, and the engineers warned the city of their findings. Days later, the property manager issued urgent evacuations for part of the building, affecting at least eight families, but the city apparently has a different understanding of what's happening.

In an email Friday a spokesperson with L & I said in part, "The entire D building located at 6325 Crittenden Street was evacuated based on the recommendation of the engineer's report provided to L&I by the property owner." The email continued, "It is the owner's responsibility to make sure tenants vacate the D building entirely and do not reenter until structural repairs are made."

Wooden beams have been installed on the side of the building where the cracks were visible. In a text message to CBS News Philadelphia, the property manager, GY Properties, said eight units have to be evacuated and denied being told to evacuate the whole building.

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