FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) The Allen County Building Department has condemned a northwest-side hotel after discovering unsafe wiring and unlivable conditions inside, a move that will displace more than 30 people.
Around 3:30 p.m. Thursday, police and building inspectors began removing guests from the Country Hearth Inn at 2908 Goshen Road, near Coliseum Boulevard and the Interstate 69 interchange. A building official told NewsChannel 15 that the hotel had until 3 p.m. Thursday to correct electrical wiring issues inside the building, but it had not.
Officials said the wiring issues were discovered Wednesday, when the sprinkler system went off in the hotel. Marvin Johnson, who has lived in Country Hearth Inn for 5 years, said he was one of the people to call 911.
“All I know is I looked out that hallway. I said, ‘oh my God what’s this? Water everywhere?’ I said, ‘we’re in for it now!'”
Inspectors arrived to find electrical wiring hanging from the ceilings in hallways throughout the main floor of the two-story hotel.
Building Commissioner, John Caywood, told NewsChannel 15 that the hotel had eight other violations that made the hotel unlivable.
“[The management] put the occupants of the building in a very unsafe position,” said Caywood. “This could cause immediate fire damage.”
Employees with the building department went door to door warning occupants of the hotel’s conditions. Johnson said he wasn’t surprised, though.
“I would see them up working in the ceiling with all the electrical cords,” he said. “I would say, nah, this isn’t cool. With all the jerry-rigged electrical stuff here, I’m surprised it hadn’t been a problem before.”
Reshna Patel, Manager of Country Hearth Inn said the wires were not installed by a professional electrician.
The hotel will also be cited for the extreme filth some of the guests were living in. Some of them were living in squalor. Patel said the hotel does not have housekeepers and guests are responsible for cleaning up after themselves.
Thirty-two guests were evacuated from the hotel. The Department of Homeland Security was called in to assists guests with other accommodations.
The hotel is expected to be closed for at least two days while the wiring and other issues are fixed, an official told NewsChannel 15.