FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) Three hundred people were displaced from Baldwin Creek Apartments Thursday after four buildings were condemned because raw sewage had flooded the basements. Management had been contracting with a plumbing company to try and deal with the issue while waiting on bids to make the necessary repairs.
Photo gallery | Raw sewage cleanup
The Allen County Building Department gave NewsChannel 15 a look inside one of the buildings that was flooded with raw sewage.
Contractors spent the night cleaning up. In one building, they were able to remove most of the solids, including feces and toilet paper. However, there is still some water on the floor.
The assistant building commissioner said a sewer main problem caused the sewage to back up into the basement. He showed a make-shift plumbing solution, someone in the complex had approved. He also added that whoever tried to fix this months ago, didn’t get proper permits and licensing, which could cost them a penalty of up to $5,000 in fines and two years in jail.
Jenna Lockstadt has been the building manager for Baldwin Creek Apartments for more than a year. She said that the make-shift plumbing solution didn’t happen while she was working there. She said management was first made aware of the problem months ago when rain would back up sewage through a drain into the basement.
Lockstadt said a plumbing company has been spot-treating the problem since April. Building managers were in the process of accepting bids to get the problem fixed. She believes because of the excess rain in the last week, the sewage levels reached a point where the buildings had to be condemned.
The basement of building E had a very strong mildew smell, and still smells of sewage in one section.
It’s estimated that the first of four buildings won’t reopen until the middle of next week. Management has previously stated that it would only take 48 hours to fix the problem. Lockstadt said they will likely reopen the condemned buildings one at a time.
IMPORTANT: The building department said if residents used their own money to get a hotel room, they will not be reimbursed because shelter is being made available.