RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) – It was a vacation return to Richmond on Wednesday for residents of Grace Place Apartments, who were given the green light to return home after being forced to leave more than a month ago.
On Friday October 22, dozens of local residents were left homeless after the 58-unit building was condemned. The apartment complex had been deemed uninhabitable by the Office of the Fire Marshal and the Planning and Development Department during a multi-agency inspection that day.
According to a statement, the inspection was the result of an anonymous phone call sent to the fire marshal‘s office on Sunday, October 17.
“I was disappointed,” said Calvin Williams, resident of Grace Place Apartments. “It’s my house.”
Williams’ friend Saleem Yusif was helping him get his things back into the apartment on Wednesday night.
“It was good to help him before the holidays, and I hope he can enjoy his vacation like everyone else in his house,” said Yusif.
Roosevelt Miles, a friend of another resident, said the tenants were told they could reoccupy the building earlier today Wednesday.
“I was getting back on the bus and he called me,” Miles said. “He said, ‘Dude, guess what? We can go back to our building tonight ‘and I was like,’ Dude, that’s a blessing, ‘and he said,’ Yeah, sure, that’s a blessing right before Thanksgiving. ‘ “
Residents told 8News they were forced to leave in October after the building was deemed uninhabitable without warning. A spokesperson for the Richmond Fire and Emergency Services told 8News it was the owner / management’s responsibility to notify tenants and cover the cost of temporary accommodation.
“I was just wondering where he was going to stay, and it was very sudden,” Yusif said. “I guess people will come back, but I’m also sure people will probably have found other accommodation. “
Property records show the $ 2.6 million building has 58 units. A spokesperson for the Richmond Fire and Emergency Services said as of Nov. 5, the building had 56 people in 42 units.
“They should have followed the code, and people wouldn’t have had to go out in the cold like that and be moved out just on Thanksgiving and Christmas,” Miles said. “It’s very disturbing.”
Inspection by municipal authorities at the end of October determined that repairs needed to be made to fire extinguishing systems, elevators and alarm systems. The fire department had also said it would make sure the building is structurally sound before people could resume living there.
Miles, Yusif and Williams all said they were excited to hear on Wednesday that residents could reoccupy the building after repairs are made.
“There is nothing like living in your own house,” Miles said. “Nothing like being at home on Thanksgiving. “
Williams said he left some of his personal belongings in the apartment, hoping he would be able to return soon.
“It’s so good to be home,” he said. “I returned!”