Over a dozen people were left homeless Wednesday evening when two floors in a Salina apartment building were deemed unsafe. Those living in apartments located in the top two floors, the third and fourth levels of the Byron Apartments at 1111 East Iron, had to pack their belongings and relocate immediately.
Representatives from the Salina Fire Department, the City of Salina, and Saline County Emergency Management were all at the scene assisting.
Salina Fire Marshall Roger Williams told KSAL News at the scene that the main problem stems from fire escape stairs on the outside of the building that have been deteriorating, and are unsafe. They are unsafe for tenants to go down on if needed, and for first responders to go up on. He said that he has been working with the building owner for about five years on the situation. It finally reached the point where it is unsafe to live on the upper two floors.
There are eight apartments on the two floors that are condemned. Seven of them were occupied ,with over a dozen total people and even more pets.
The majority are moving temporarily to the Village Inn Motel at 453 S. Broadway in Salina.The Salina Animal Shelter is helping with the pets.
Williams said that the apartment owner was not helping the tenants relocate. They are getting some help, though, from a couple or non-profit agencies.
The Salina Salvation Army was on the scene Wednesday evening. The agency is taking care of the first couple of nights stay at the motel.
OCCK assisted Wednesday evening as well by sending a couple of CityGo buses to offer a free ride from the Byron Apartments to the Village Inn.
Williams says that the building owner has the option of making repairs to make the facility safe again, but it would be a major project. And he added that so far the owner has not indicated any desire to do so.