Dozens left homeless as code violations shut down Spanish Oaks - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

Dozens left homeless as code violations shut down Spanish Oaks


The gates to the Spanish Oaks Apartments are now chained and locked. Signs were posted on Thursday telling residents they must remove their belongings in less than 24 hours. 

A fire destroyed one of the buildings on Monday, leaving 28 people homeless. Firefighters had to turn off the power to the complex while fighting the massive fire, but investigators decided to leave the power off after they found several code violations and electrical problems.

The fire marshal's office says power cannot be restored until a licensed electrician certifies that all the problems have been fixed. Until then, no one is allowed to live there.

On Tuesday the apartment manager told KCBD they were working with an electrician to try and have the issues fixed by Friday. But on Thursday, the manager says that's all changed. There is no electrician that can fix all the problems at once, so they will have to make repairs one building at a time to bring it up to code. That could take months.

The announcement shocked residents, only giving them until 5 p.m. Friday to remove their belongings.

"Many of those don't have transportation. Many are scrambling to try to find people to pick up their possessions. It's a very, very frustrating situation," Red Cross volunteer Bill Curnow said.

Curnow says many of those who were forced to leave because of the code violations are staying at the temporary shelter intended for fire victims. That shelter will be closing on Saturday at 3 p.m.

"The reason for that is, all the individuals who suffered fire damage or who had fire losses have been taken care of, or are in the process of being completed right now by a case worker," Curnow said. "Unfortunately, the Red Cross finds we have a much larger population that did not actually suffer a natural disaster. What happened to them is very much a code issue between tenants and landlords. This is not an area the Red Cross gets involved with."

Bill says while many thought they would be able to return home when the power was restored, they have now come to realization they are homeless.

"The reality hit home a few hours ago for them, and it was a very difficult reality to come to terms with," Curnow said.

Red Cross volunteers are scrambling to compile resource lists and other contacts and organizations that could help these residents now left with nowhere to go.

RELATED STORY: Spanish Oaks apartment manager working to fix code violations

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