The city padlocked a rundown Fair Haven home Tuesday and temporarily placed its seven occupants in hotel rooms.
A medical call alerted officials to dangerous conditions at the single-family home at 342 Grand Ave., according to Rafael Ramos, deputy director of city government’s anti-blight agency, the Livable City Initiative (LCI).
Firefighters and cops who responded to the scene then alerted LCI to unsafe building conditions. “The health violations there were pretty severe,” said top Fair Haven cop Lt. David Zannelli. “We don’t want anybody getting sick.”
After finding sewage in the basement, a leaky roof, exposed electrical wiring, a lack of heat, and padlocked doors —and unrelated adults living there despite the lack of a rooming house license — LCI condemned the building and had it boarded up. It arranged for the occupants to spend seven days in local hotel rooms while it tries to find them permanent housing or other accommodations, Ramos said.
Zannelli credited his officers and Fair Haven LCI specialist Laurie Lopez for identifying a serious problem and taking action.
Frank McWeeney inherited the house two years ago from his late mother, according to his friend and roommate, Ronda Schloemann, a former home health aide who said he hasn’t worked for a while. McWeeney was at one point living on disability, she said, and the house had debts on it. The city placed a tax lien on the property earlier this year and is suing for foreclosure.
She said she doesn’t expect that she and McWeeney will be able to return to the Grand Avenue home.
“They got us the hotel room for a week. After that, I don’t know what else we will do,” she said. “It’s sad. The house has been in the family for 45 years.”