The people who call the Economy Inn on Augusta Road "home" were forced to leave the motel Wednesday night. Those who were staying there said it happened fast.
Greenville County officials said all four buildings were condemned after the motel failed inspection when inspectors found numerous "life safety issues."
Bob Mihalic, a spokesman for the county, said officials said the following issued were found: Smoke Detectors are inoperable. Sewage system is not operating properly. Electrical hazards 2nd Story room floors are weak and have holes in them Residential clothes washers are being used and operating from extension cords Holes are in walls, Ceilings need repair Infestation Trash and Debris in rooms and on exterior Exposed wiring Several rooms do not have heat and hot water Padlocks installed on exterior doors"We have to get this pile of clothes,” said one tenant to her young sons as they collected their belongings. “This pile of clothes has to go out."
The family is now moving their items one by one. The boys are trying to be big helpers, but they’re confused about why they have to pack up and leave.
"Mommy, are we going to live here?” asked one son.
"No, everybody is leaving baby," said his mother.
That confusion was felt behind every door - tenants said they had no warning.
"I'm torn apart, I have no place to go," said Charles Saltz, his eyes welling with tears.
Saltz said all day he was at the heart doctor, and when he stepped off the bus, he had no idea he was walking into chaos. He found families, his neighbors, standing with all their belongings in the parking lot.
"I've applied to a couple of places to get out of this place but they won't take me in at the moment right now,” Saltz said. “So I took my little bit of money and finally splurged to get me a little something to eat and now I've come home and find out I'm being thrown out."
Many that lived here said they were on a monthly income. Barbara Moore said she's been there for five months.
"I feel bad for anyone that was staying here, because we're all family here,” Moore said.
She said she had just gotten off work and laid down in bed when she got a knock on the door.
"They come back and said "We've got some bad news for you. You've got to move today, everybody got to go,"’ Moore said.
The county said they did an inspection of the building and the results concluded the inn wasn't safe. Officials said the building was condemned for a long list of reasons including smoke alarms not working, sewer issues, electrical problems, a weak second floor, holes in the walls and both mold and infestations were found.
"You got it, just drop it right here," said a mother to her children as they moved their belongings.
Now residents said they are left picking up the pieces.
"I lived on the streets for three years before I got a job and moved out here,” Moore said. “How do you think I feel right now? This is my home to me, now I don't have no where to go."
Greenville County Council District 25 representative Ennis Fant said the county had no choice in condemning the building because it was "uninhabitable." In a press conference on Thursday, Fant said the building was putting public safety at risk.
"The place was about to fall down and kill somebody," Fant said.
Mihalic said county officials provided a list of resources to those displaced.
Here is that list: Greenville County Redevelopment Authority– 242-9801 Greenville County Human Relations Commission – 467-7095 Greenville Urban League – Jean Vernon - 244-3862 Salvation Army – Poinsett Highway - Men/ Women/ Children – 235-4803 Miracle Hill - Greenville Rescue Mission 575 W Washington Street – 242-6933 Miracle Hill – Shepherds Gate Women’s Shelter – 1 Regency Hill Dr – 268-5589Many residents, however, said they don’t have a long-term plan at this point because the condemnation was so unexpected.
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