UPDATE: People Still Living in What's Considered Unfit Conditions

By: Kristen Schneider, Dale Johnson Email
By: Kristen Schneider, Dale Johnson Email
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Police say a man was shot in the hand at an apartment along Washington Street East Tuesday morning.

MGN Online

UPDATE 7/23/14 @ 7:15p.m.
CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- More than 24 hours after a Charleston apartment building was considered unlivable and all tenants were forced out, some are still living inside.

The building inspector came out and shut down the building in the 2200 block of Washington Street East because they say it is infested with roaches and bed bugs.

They also say there are a slew of safety and code violations.

Officials say everyone living in the apartments was supposed to be out within 24 hours, but the landlord says he is allowing these people to stay.

Landlord John Fox says he has a contract with an exterminating company, but is waiting on tenants to clean their apartments to the point that the exterminators can actually spray the building.

He says he has taken care of everything he can, and that what his tenants do is out of his control.

It isn't the only building Fox owns; it is one of 150 properties he owns throughout the city.

Building Code Officer Tony Harmon says this could be a situation of someone taking on more than they can handle.

"Somebody that owns that many properties, and doesn't have the ability to, I guess, take care of them -- this is what you run into. And I don't know how anybody could take care of that many properties at one time," Harmon said.

He also said that Fox's number of properties have actually decreased through the years. Just 10 years ago, he owned at least 1,000 properties.

Harmon said everyone was supposed to be out of the building by Wednesday. If Fox doesn't comply with the city's demands, he could face a $500 fine per day for each violation.



UPDATE 7/22/14 @ 11:20 p.m.
CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- A shooting investigation at an apartment building in Charleston uncovered safety and code violations, forcing the Building Commission to shut it down.

Building Commissioner Tony Harmon said the building in the 2200 block of Washington Street is infested with roaches and bed bugs.

Signs were posted on all five units in the building, stating that the structure is unfit and it's use or occupancy has been prohibited. Harmon said, however, that residents cannot just be thrown out onto the street.

Harmon said he was in the process of notifying owner John Fox of the safety issues that have to be corrected in 24 hours. Harmon said Fox has 21 days to correct non-safety issues.

If Fox does not comply, he could face up to $500 a day in fines per violation.

Harmon says Fox owns more than 200 properties in Charleston and that this isn't the first time Fox has had issues at one of his properties.

WSAZ.com tried to contact Fox for comment and left a message, but he did not answer or call back.

The notice left people who live in the apartment confused.

"This is what I don't understand," says Kenric Smith. "I don't have anything in my house."

But he knew something was wrong when his girlfriend called him at work.

"It was about two o'clock, and my girl called me crying, talking about us getting evicted," Smith said. "What I couldn't understand is we paid our rent."

When he got home, he saw the notice and tried to call his landlord to find out what to do.

"We can't find the landlord and I come home to see what's going on and I've got one of these things stuck on my door," Smith said. "And I've got to move. They tell me six o'clock this evening and I don't have anywhere to go."



ORIGINAL STORY 7/22/14 @ 12:47 p.m.
CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- Police are investigating a shooting in Charleston.

It happened about 10:15 a.m. Tuesday at an apartment along Washington Street East.

Police say the victim, Marvin Smith, was shot in the hand. He is expected to be OK.

Smith tells WSAZ.com a man broke into his apartment demanding money and prescription drugs. He says there was a struggle, and that is when the suspect shot him in the hand.

No arrests have been made.

City Building inspectors were called to the apartment where the shooting happened.

They have deemed the building unfit and are asking all tenants to leave the building and stay elsewhere.

Inspectors say the building is infested with roaches and bed bugs.

They have notified all tenants and are in the process of notifying the owner.

Keep clicking on WSAZ.com for the latest on this story.


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