TEMPLE HILLS, Md. — Residents packed up their belongings and left their homes Wednesday at the problem-plagued Lynnhill Condominiums complex in Temple Hills, Maryland, after being told the two mid-rise buildings are not safe.
Dozens of residents of the buildings on Good Hope Avenue were given 24 hours to leave this week after the complex failed a fire safety inspection.
Prince George’s County fire officials said building management failed to fix 14 of 23 fire code violations that were recently uncovered. Inspectors found a nonworking fire alarm system, broken fire doors and vacant condos filled with trash.
“Management was notified of these violations multiple times, and ordered to make corrections, but failed to do so in a timely manner,” the county’s fire department said in a statement. “Inspections by the fire department revealed major fire code violations that threaten the immediate safety of all residents.”
Many of the condo units were already unoccupied, but about 100 residents still lived in the buildings and were forced to leave.
One man, who told WTOP he did not want his name used, said the 24-hour notice was “ridiculous.”
“Why the fire department seems to feel the need to come now — I don’t understand why they couldn’t wait a couple more weeks so everybody could properly move out,” the man said. “A lot of people can’t get their stuff out, including myself. So we have to make arrangements to get our stuff.”
The Prince George’s County Department of Social Services is working with those who are displaced to help them find housing. Red Cross officials are also assisting.
Fire officials stressed that the county is not exercising eminent domain. Owners can access their units once all violations are corrected.
The condo complex has a troubled history. Last fall, residents faced evictions over unpaid gas and electric bills. James Braxton, the complex’s property manager, has said many of the problems are the result of squatters who moved into the buildings.
Management is working to sell the property to an investor who can fix it up.
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