Columbia, SC (WLTX) - A group of families living at the West Avenue Apartments, behind Palmetto Richland Hospital, have been displaced after the apartment's owner failed to provide proper heat to the apartments.
"What do we do?" said tenant Melinda Dell. "We don't have money to pick up and leave. It's Christmas. We've got kids. What do we do? The Fire Marshall said he'd rather evacuate us than carry one of us out dead in a fire."
Heat to apartments in Building J, where Dell lived, stopped working weeks ago.
Instead of fixing the primary heating source, the complex provided tenants with plug in space heaters.
"The Fire Marshall of the city of Columbia determined the property was inhabitable due to improper heating sources," said spokesperson Brick Lewis. "Right now, the primary heating source is not operational and the secondary heating source that is being used, does not meet the code."
Lewis says the Fire Marshal deemed the building not suitable for the tenants in the interest of their safety.
"At this point it's up to the management to have someone come out, inspect it, determine what needs to be done," said Lewis.
The tenants were placed in a hotel Monday and Tuesday night, but are told they will have to find a new residence by Wednesday.
Our calls to the complex manager have not been returned.