Residents forced out of apartments after building condemned

More than two dozen residents scrambled to pack up their belongings after the city condemned the Princess Apartments on Twelfth Street Thursday.

Mishawaka Building Commissioner Bo Hundt says code enforcement called him about the property Wednesday night.

They met and inspected the boiler room the next day and deemed the building unsafe for residents.

"There's burst pipes and the water was flowing all the way over the electrical panel," Hundt said. "There was about three inches of water running on the basement floor, undermining the structural integrity of the building."

Hundt says they went door-to-door telling residents the gas and electric would be turned off at the apartments, so they would need to be out within 24 hours.

Many packed up what little they could on such short notice and tried to figure out where to stay for the night.

"You have kids in tears because you have nowhere to go," said resident Michael Carlo. "This building literally consisted of handicapped people, disabled people, and families."

The Red Cross is providing to shelter for up to three nights at Coalbush United Methodist Church and Quality Dining is donating meals.

The owner of Princess Apartments, Randy Miller, now has 30 days to respond to the city in writing.

He must explain what repairs will be made, who will make them and how long they'll take.

Miller will also have to attend a hearing on the building's condemnation.

While this is the first time the building commissioner says he's been called to inspect the property, residents say there have been problems at Princess Apartments for years.

"I noticed black mold in my bathroom," Carlo said. "There's roaches, there's bed bugs."

A man who did some maintenance work at the property says Miller was aware of the issues, but did nothing to correct them.

"This is 110 percent neglect," Frederick Cleveland said.

He says Miller owns other properties throughout the county, including the Marathon gas station on Capital and Cleveland, which is closed.

NewsCenter 16 contacted Miller Thursday night, but our calls were not returned.

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