TEMPLE HILLS, MD -- Residents of a troubled condominium complex in Temple Hills are facing eviction for the second time in less than a year.
The Prince George's County Fire Department (PGFD) announced Friday that it had issued the management at Lynnhill Condominiums a correction order because of "several significant fire code violations".
Management must satisfactorily address the issues by 8:00 a.m. Tuesday, August 22, 2017 or the department will deem the building unsafe and residents will have to move out within 24 hours.
"We are here to prevent a tragedy from occurring," said PGFD Chief Benjamin Barksdale.
Barksdale said they had been talking with the new management about fire code issues since 2016, but it had now reached a critical point.
Among the most pressing issues: the "fire alarm system must be inspected and in proper working order, all doors to vacant units must be secured, accumulated trash/debris in all vacant units and areas must be removed, and fire doors throughout the buildings must operate properly, close and latch."
"We’ve all seen how much of a disaster that we could have with a building that is not sprinkled and the conditions that these buildings are," said Barksdale.
He said there are over 100 residents in the two buildings who will be affected by this, but there may be more as the buildings have a squatting problem.
Management said they would hold a news conference regarding their efforts to address the issues on Saturday morning.
The last time residents were facing eviction was in October 2016, when the gas and electricity was shut-off due to the management company not paying the utility bills.
However, even if the fire code violations are fixed, residents told DCW50 News at 10 that they are facing another eviction threat in October.
Multiple residents said they have been getting calls from the Prince George's County Department of Social Services informing them that they will have to be out of the condominiums by October 3 because the gas and electricity will be shut off.
A spokesperson for Pepco told DCW50 News at 10 that the utility company is not involved in the current issues with the fire code violations, but provided this statement regarding service termination:
"The Maryland Public Service Commission has authorized termination of gas and electric service at Lynnhill Condominiums. If Pepco disconnects under this authorization, the company will post on every door and in the common areas multiple notices of intent to terminate, commencing at least 30 days before service is disconnected."
When asked, the spokesperson could not say if the company intended to terminate service.