Residents displaced after Anniston condemns fire-damaged apartment complex

Published: Jan. 7, 2023 at 5:29 PM CST
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ANNISTON, Ala. (WBRC) - After a fire destroyed an apartment in Anniston late last month, neighbors are trying to find a new place to live because the city is condemning all of the units in the complex.

The fire happened on Wilmer Avenue the day after Christmas. Some of the tenants lost everything and now they’re having to start over at a new address.

“Today I’m supposed to be out of here and I feel like I’m losing everything I have,” said Richard Adams, a resident at the complex being forced to vacate. “I’ve been crying all day.”

The apartments adjacent to the unit that caught fire have now been condemned by Anniston’s Code Enforcement Department.

“We wanted to make sure that the apartments adjacent to the fire were in good condition,” Tana Bryant, senior code enforcer for the city of Anniston, explained. “So, we scheduled with the owner and the tenants and what we found determined the course of action we took, which was the condemnation of the building.”

Bryant said the city is working with the Anniston Housing Authority to get help for people that are displaced. But Adams says he is not allowed to receive help from the housing authority and he can’t afford anything else.

“We’re trying. I can’t afford the deposits anywhere, they’re too high for me,” he said. “I draw from social security. I can’t afford it, so it’s hard for me.”

Adams moved into his apartment five months ago and said it’s a sad situation for residents like him and the owners.

“It’s not the owner’s fault,” he said. “It’s other people’s fault, not theirs. I hate they’re losing their money on a beautiful place like this. They’re losing too much. They’re darn good people. It’s sad that my people lose what they’re losing.”

When asked why the buildings were condemned, the city said that is part of an ongoing investigation. If someone is inside one of the condemned buildings, they can be prosecuted.

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