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Condemned Main St. Building Leaves Some Without Homes

CONDEMNED BUILDING.jpg

At least four people were left without a home after the building they live in was condemned by the City of Lewiston.

The signs are clear, even if they've been ripped down. 515 - 517 Main Street in Lewiston is unsafe.

Now everyone who lives in the second-story apartments has to leave because of what's been put in down below.

Building official John Smith says, "In the last few weeks, there's a store that has moved into this location and was not licensed and had actually been told it would not be allowed in this building without sprinklers."

No sprinklers. No working fire alarm. And full of what building official John Smith says is fuel for fire.

Smith explains, "There's mattresses, furniture, a car battery that we can see through the windows. It's a huge fire danger."

Smith says the business moved in unlawfully and without the knowledge of the property owner. "And when we found out, it became a life safety issue."

They couldn't reach the tenant who moved in downstairs, but when KLEW News reporter Shannon Moudy went around back, the man and some friends were moving his stuff out of the building.

He didn't want to comment.

Smith says, "Our biggest concern are the people living here and that they get to someplace safe and warm."

He was out here all afternoon trying to catch upstairs tenants to let them know they need to find somewhere else to stay. The electricity and gas have been turned off.

"If you are going to be in a position where you don't have heat and you don't have electricity, do not use candles, do not use fuel-fired equipment because there's carbon monoxide and it's a fire danger. We don't want anyone getting hurt out there," Smith says.

The property owner is working with the city to bring the building up to compliance. Anyone needing assistance may contact Community Development at (208) 746-1318.

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